Wednesday, December 24, 2008

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!

My sister Lucinda gave Clayton green peppermint M&M's after lunch today. He's not much of a mint fan.

Tutu too!!!

My cute, clever, crafty, creative sister-in-law Christina posted a couple of days ago about the cute tutus she made her girls for Christmas. She included links to some tutorials. It couldn't have come at the more perfect time. I had been planning on making Caroline a tutu as well, but hadn't gotten around to starting it and wasn't sure where to start when it came to the engineering of all that fluff. Thanks to Christina, I have a completed Fairy outfit complete with wings, a headband & of course, the tutu. Total cost for project: $0 Feeling of accomplishment from being thrifty and crafty: Priceless! Thanks, Christina!!! And here's the links I stole off her blog:

I Think Maybe I Watch Too Much HGTV...

I made a dollhouse for Caroline for Christmas. I may have projected my decorating fantasies on it. A tiny bit. Okay, maybe a lot. I may have gone overboard. But man, was it fun!!! I'm sure she won't appreciate all the little details, but oh well. I got my need to redecorate out by putting it all into a miniature version. And, by the way, I spent a total of $10, and that was on a "decorate your own dollhouse furniture" kit that I got at for 50% off. And a package of tiny match boxes that my brother-in-law bought for me while he was in town, and wouldn't let me pay him back for. Everything else was from odds & ends that either I saved for the express purpose of making a dollhouse or little things that while I was in the midst of the project, I thought "hey, that would be great for..." And of course all the fabric scraps that I can't bear to part with that come in handy for stuff like this. Like leftover silk shirt from the silk cowboy scarves I made 3 years ago. Silk shirts I scored at various yardsales for like 25 cents apiece. Floors and some of the walls were from discontinued wallpaper books from the local decorating store. So it may have a designer look, but it's definitely more on the shabby chic side, and I'm pretty impressed with my own thrift on this project. Oh yeah, and the body of the house? An old shelf that was actually the wagon bed from the year I taught 4th grade and had a pioneer theme. A friend helped me build a reading nook that was a covered wagon. So that was recycled. Nice, huh?

"Hannah Montana's" room. (Caroline scored a Hannah Montana doll at her dance Christmas party. I don't think she even knows who Hannah/Miley is. Fortunately.) The mirror part of the dresser didn't come with the furniture. I painted a small picture frame, glued it onto the dresser and put a piece of metal from my scrapbooking tag supplies behind the glass.
Kelly's room. Aunt Cindy found the perfect cute little Kelly doll to go in the house. Because you know, Caroline's three, and Barbies...Well, I'd prefer she plays with a little girl doll for a little bit longer. My favorite piece of furniture is this little armoire that opens & closes.
The living room with a glimpse of the counter & bar stools. Note my cute fireplace made out of a tiny picture frame and the end of a shelf that was supposed to go over my sink but never fit. So I took it apart and used it for different stuff. Parts of it are actually part of Hannah's bed above. And also see the tiny nutcracker on the mantle. Leftover from when I taught dance and gave each student a nutcracker ornament as a gift after our performance of the Nutcracker one Christmas. I knew it would come in handy someday.
The Kitchen complete with picture window (plastic magnetic picture frame that the scrapbook store owner threw in for free one time and a picture I printed off of the internet), sink, stove & drawers that really open & close (match boxes!) The counters are all from a wooden gift box that something came in. I looked at the box and thought, "someday, I could use that for something." And here we are, 2 years later and I used it for something.


Awwwwwww, the wedding day! Here we're by the groom's cake shaped like a horseshoe. Since it was a December wedding (3 days after Christmas) the whole room was decked out like a Winter Wonderland with trees and lights and red & green. It was beautiful! My mom did an incredible job putting it all together with the help of my sisters. Seriously THE best day of my life! I was on cloud nine and all the little details were totally lost on me because I was so excited and in love and with my Jake! And I get to celebrate our 6th anniversary with my sweet, amazing, ruggedly handsome, thoughtful, funnier-than-all-get-out hubby in 4 more days!!!!! Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1) Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on the computer
2)Select the 4th picture in the folder
3)Explain the picture
4)Tag 4 people to do the same
I tag Krista, Christina, Erin & Robin

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Night In Bethlehem

I know I'm a little slow getting these posted, but they're from our church Christmas party last Saturday evening and I think they're darling. The theme was "A Night in Bethlehem." We were asked to come in "biblical attire" and the gym was decorated like an open market in the middle east where we were able to go to each shop to buy our pita bread, and get our meat (chicken or lamb), fruit, nuts, salad, cheese & dessert. We all ate picnic style on blankets on the floor. It was such fun time and there was a very sweet, celebratory spirit. Near the end, the lights dimmed and children portraying Joseph & Mary went from stall to stall in the market and were told, "No room." They then settled in a "stable" area that was set up at the front of the gym with a manger & straw. My little 4 month old niece was the "Baby Jesus" and the Nativity story was then narrated & acted out by more children and we all joined in song throughout. It was a wonderful experience for our family and friends. We're so grateful for our friend that organized it all. She did a phenomenal job creating an atmosphere that invited the spirit and brought so much joy as we reflected on the meaning and reason for this happy season.
Caroline & Grandma

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sing a Song of Christmas

For FHE on Monday night, I read this story, "Sing a Song of Christmas." It's about a little girl who visits an elderly widowed neighbor and finds a way to make her Christmas extra special. In the story, she sings "Silent Night" in German. How handy that Jake served his mission in Germany - he sang the song for us! It was so sweet. After the story and song, we decorated cookies with this fantastic sugar cookie recipe from the Pioneer Woman and we will deliver them to 2 of our neighbors who are elderly widows. We're looking forward to our visits with our sweet adopted "grandmas." How I love Christmas and the togetherness something as simple as decorating cookies and giving them away brings!

Monday, December 8, 2008

the BusyButlers Boutique Grand Opening Giveaway!!!!

To kick off the start of my new bow-making venture, I'm having a giveaway of a whole BOW BUNDLE! Visit the BusyButlers Boutique to see what I've got and to enter for a chance to win!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Family Fun

What a crazy, fun week! We had family in and out and had a blast! The joy started when my parents and youngest sister, Catherine, arrived last Saturday night with a load of all the stuff I had left at my parents house that they didn't want in their garage anymore. They stayed and we played on Sunday and Monday (Catherine & I stayed up WAY too late one night playing "The Farming Game" - you should try it sometime if you haven't. Totally fun!) They continued on their merry way on Tuesday morning to dump the rest of the load in Minneapolis at my sister Lucinda's house, where they also spent Thanksgiving. On Wednesday evening, another two of my sisters, Nan & Marilyn, arrived with Mar's friend Brent in tow. Thanksgiving Day was so much fun, with all of us pitching in to prepare the meal and with Brent doing an awesome job entertaining Caroline & Clayton. At one point, Brent went to the bunkhouse to check on part of the meal for me and Clayton followed him right out the door and went with him on his errand. It was pretty cute. Brave little boy. Marilyn made 4 amazing pies and after dinner, we just enjoyed visiting and being together and watching the cute kiddos entertain us. Friday morning began at 4:00 a.m. for Me, Nanny, Mar & Brent as we headed to WalMart for the Black Friday blitz. I divided up my list and gave each person an assignment. We arrived at the store at 5:10 and were completely done with everything by 5:30 - and we got EVERYTHING on the list! It was great! Later that day we got to ride horses and just hang some more. With everyone's help, we got our new Christmas tree (score from WalMart!) up along with the rest of the Christmas decorations. That night my parents arrived back at my house on their return trip and after a major laugh fest from watching this YouTube video of "Water Ballet", and hearing Mom & Catherine's version of the "Tomato Seed Story", we all turned in. The fam got off by 10:30ish but we got to see a little more of Catherine when she hitched a ride back with Nan, Mar & Brent because she left her shoes here. (She also had to go pj-less in MN because she left those here on Tuesday!) Everyone made it home safe, and though it was a short visit, it is one that we'll remember for the laughter & togetherness.
My mom figured out that when Clayton rode his horse around the house and shouted, he was yelling "Ride! Ride! Ride!" He was tickled pink when she said that to him after he would holler and we could tell that he knew we knew what he was saying.
Caroline helping vacuum the floor in preparation for her Aunties visit, using the new sweeper vac that Mona brought just for her!
Preparing apples for Marilyn's wonderful apple pie. (Nanny had to pull her hair back, so Caroline lent her a hair bow.)
Mar hard at work pie-making.
The feast and the chefs. (Why did nobody tell me my shirt needed to be pulled down in back?)
Grandpa is SO EXCITED for pie!
Clayton is, too. He couldn't keep his fingers out and upon closer examination, it looked like he had fingerpainted a turkey in the whipped cream.
Caroline and her pumpkin "moose" pie.
Marilyn & Brent teaching Caroline how to play pool. Her favorite part of the visit. She even asked this morning if she could go over & play pool.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Pops - Place Cards to Gobble Gobble!

Caroline & I have been busy this week getting ready for Turkey day. Our first project was some turkey pops (made from cake balls and inspired by Bakerella) that will be our place cards for dinner tomorrow. However, I don't know how many will actually make it to the table because I keep catching Caroline snitching pops from the fridge when I'm not looking!

So Bugged - But Thankful

Two weeks ago on my weekly trip to town, I stopped in at the local scrapbook store, chatted with the proprietor for a while, purchased some darling hair bow making supplies and left. The next morning, I got a phone call from her. She was very concerned that she hadn't entered me in the drawing for the "Hometown Holiday Giveaway". The prize was $75 worth of groceries for your Thanksgiving dinner, including the Turkey & a Ham. Count me in! I was to listen the following Monday morning to the local radio station to see if I won. So I did, and miracle of all miracles, my name was drawn! I never win ANYTHING! I was SO excited! So the following Tuesday on my next trip to town, I went back to the store to pick up my loot. Inside the bag was a gift certificate to Safeway for my turkey, free coupons for mayo, cornstarch & kara syrup (all things I use for our big day & the leftovers after) a box of stuffing mix & several gravy seasoning packets (neither of which I use because I do everything from scratch, but whatev) a couple boxes of XXL Ziploc bags (I can substitute one of these for a brining bag for my turkey, right???) and a random audio book. I was assured that the rest hadn't been gathered up yet, but that I would be getting a phone call when it was ready & I could pick it up. Okay, no problem. So I go in yesterday to the radio station for the rest of my Thanksgiving feast. I was handed a bag that contained this:

(McCormick Crusting Blends)
Actually, it was thirty 1.8 oz. free sample packets of French Onion, Pepper & Herb Crusting Blends. What??????? I'm sure they'd taste great on my turkey, but what about all the groceries I was promised???? I double checked with the receptionist that handed me the bag, and was assured that it was the right bag and that was my prize. I was slightly bugged. Not that I really need a ham, (since we slaughtered 2 hogs at the beginning of the summer and are pretty much set with all things pork for another several months), but I was kindof hoping for the gift card that I could use for my sweet potatoes, pie supplies, etc... Oh well. I AM really thankful to have a free turkey! And instead of complaining I suppose I should be using this time to be brining that 20 lb. baby and getting her ready for tomorrow's deliciousness.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

Nothing has happened lately that's blogworthy so I thought I'd do this survey that my cute sister-in-law tagged me with. Maybe you'll learn a few things about me that you didn't know!

8 TV shows I watch:
1. Decorating Cents
2. Little Einsteins (I know, I know - but I think it's clever and Caroline & I watch it together.)
3. The Unit
4. Pushing Daisies
5. Desperate Housewives
6. The Office
7. ER
8. uhhh....

8 favorite restaurants:
1. Café Rio - not in NE :(
2. Arby's
3. Qudoba
4. Cold Stone!
5. I don't eat out a I'm having a hard time with this one!

8 things that happened today:
1. I made breakfast burritos for my visiting parents, sister, hubby & kiddos.
2. Emptied the dishwasher
3. Started the laundry.
4. Made a shopping list for Thanksgiving dinner.
5. Vaccumed the floor.
6. Updated my blog.
7. The day's still young! It's only 9:40 a.m.!

8 things I look forward to:
1. Thanksgiving weekend (food, shopping, sleeping in!)
2. Christmas (opening presents, food, relaxing with family)
3. Our 6th anniversary at the end of December!!!
4. More snow and playing with the kids in it!
5. Community Christmas Choir concert with all the different church choirs!
6. Having more kids someday
7. Next summer's garden!
8. Watching my kids grow up

8 things on my wish list:
1. For my family to be fixed.
2. To have more kids
3. To be healthy and reach my goal weight
4. To go to Hawaii for our 10th anniversary.
5. To catch up on my scrapbooks someday
6. To be able to stop time so I can catch up on my scrapbooks and still get a decent night’s sleep!7. To add on to our home so we have more room for more kiddos.
8. To see my kids all go on missions and/or get married in the temple

8 people I tag today:
1. Robin B.
2. Shannon Y.
3. Jill R.
4. Brittany B.
5. Phaedra V.
6. Michelle R.
7. Heather P.
8. Rachelle T.
9. Krista D. (Okay, okay - there's just not room for all my friends with just 8!)

A Full Life...

This was on my sister-in-law's blog and I thought it was kindof neat. I things I have done are in bold.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band school
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland /world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (sortof - does rapelling count???)
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (Yay for Butler Westerns!)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job (does being layed off count?)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (well, I had poetry published in a book - does that count?)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Was the book really dripping with that much cheese??? Did I just block that memory or am I really in denial??? The movie was just not all that I hoped for and more. Sigh. But I did really like the baseball game. I think that was my favorite part. And the tree climbing. But..."spider-monkey"??????? REALLY?

Friday, November 21, 2008

My New Favorite Thing!

Okay, this is just silly, but I really, really, REALLY don't like carpet in my dining area. It is just a recipe for grossness. And now, since Clayton has decided that in order to communicate to us that he is done eating he MUST dump the remainder of his food on the floor (why can't he just TALK??? or Sign, even?) I'm constantly cleaning goo out of the carpet fibers. But since we're not able to rip it all out and replace it with something a little more low maintenance just yet, I found a solution. I bought some vinyl from the fabric dept. at WalMart this week to put on the table to protect the wood (my friend Michelle did this and I thought it was a fantastic idea with little ones around!) But while I was having it measured, I thought "Why not put some on the floor too???" So I bought a little extra. It is now on the floor under the high chair and under Caroline's chair. What a huge difference it has already made in my week! First of all, because I just finished shampooing the carpet and inevitably, someone smushes, grinds or mashes something into the carpet the day after I do, and the vinyl protected the most vulnerable area for that to happen. And Second, I love that I just have to wipe up spills on it rather than gently picking food out of the fibers, rubbing carefully and then breaking out the carpet stain remover. There were so many things I got done this week and I'm going to attribute it to the fact that roughly an hour of my week has been reclaimed from cleaning up carpet messes around the table. Yay! Now, does anyone have any tips for anchoring the plastic sheet to the floor so it doesn't move around???

Friday, November 14, 2008

Just a Reminder...

All the fun giveaways and cool stuff I stumble onto gets posted about and linked to HERE. Visit the BUTLER BLOG BUZZ for fun Christmas ideas and giveaways.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why it's a bad idea to leave a bag of flour open on the floor. Even for just 30 seconds...

'nuff said.

Such Refinement!

Caroline & I tried something new today. We invited Clayton to a "Cocoa Party". Uh, yeah. 14-month-old boys and tea cakes/cocoa in teacups aren't a great combination when it comes to the mess. But it sure is entertaining to watch! The video was even better, but I'm having problems uploading it right now. Hopefully I can get it up soon!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Oh, how I love Halloween! I love the treats and the decorations. I LOVE dressing up! This holiday is such a creative outlet for me! We had a fun time this year. On Thursday night we got to attend our Branch Halloween party, which had fun booths and fun food! It was a lot of fun to see all the kids dressed up. It was even more fun to see some of the adults decked out (made me feel a little better about my silly costume!) Caroline went as a Rodeo Queen, I was a Rodeo Clown (but I stand corrected. They are no longer called clowns. They are now referred to as "Bullfighters". Go figure. More prestigious I guess.) We also had Sheriff Clayton and Deputy Jake along with us to protect us from the scary creatures. Friday night we just dressed the kids up for a dinner out with some friends and their kids. Then we all went trick or treating together to the local assisted living center. It was nice inside, warm & safe. And you couldn't beat the smiles on the residents when they saw all the cute little kids coming to their doors for treats. What a great way to spend Halloween!
Caroline enjoying the goodies at the Branch party with her friend Mara.
All the cute babies on Friday night after dinner. (McKenzie, Noah, Gracie, Caroline, Ava & Clayton)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Jack O' Lanterns

Instead of carving pumpkins this year for Family Home Evening, we let the kids draw on them. First of all, it was easier than carving with those two. Second of all, I really want to use my home-grown pumpkins for pies and other yummy things later. So this is what we came up with courtesy of a bunch of Sharpie markers:

Caroline's Pumpkin Face

Clayton's Masterpiece (with Daddy's help.)

Whew! That's Over!

What a weekend!!! Friday night I had a band concert. Yup, you read that right. It's been what, 12 years since I played in a band? But our community here has a band that is offered as a class through Chadron State University. I opted to take it not-for-credit, simply because I miss participating in a music ensemble. What fun it was to get out my flute, that has mostly been used for the occasional musical number in Sacrament Meeting. I even had a solo in "Emperata Overture" which I swear I played in an honor band like, 15 years ago. It was a wonderful experience that even Caroline & Clayton seemed to enjoy, once the powerful opening phrases of our first piece died down. Jake's favorite part was our last piece - the Colonal Bogey March from the movie "Bridge Over the River Kwai" (also familiar from the old "The Parent Trap" in the scene where the twin sisters are taken to their solitary confinement cabin).

There I am to the right of the band director.

On Saturday, we headed up to Rapid City for Stake Conference. The kids & I hung out at the hotel (after we found the hotel) and then met Jake after his meetings for dinner. It was nice to get to sit by my husband that night to be spiritually fed during the adult session of conference while our kids kicked it in the nursery with the teenaged daughters of a good friend (thanks, again Erin!!!) On Sunday morning, we weren't so lucky to be sitting next to each other, since I had the opportunity of sitting on the stand to give a talk. Lucky me. I definitely had a LOT of divine help with that one and really am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on and then speak about the topic I was given, which was "I Believe In Christ."