Tuesday, December 10, 2013

school themed luncheon

Last week the 5th graders at my kids' school hosted the staff luncheon.
Each month a grade level is in charge of hosting a luncheon for the wonderful staff at the school. Since I have a 5th grader and am the co-room rep for the 5th grade AND I have a just-as-crazy-as-I-am co-room rep partner, we met up a few months ago, came up with an idea and concept and sorta ran with it.

Given that the month we were assigned to (December) and the fact that it was scheduled for the first week back after Thanksgiving break and since December is already filled with lots of delicious, but heavy foods, we wanted to go light and a bit good-for-you on the food side. We decided to do a sandwich bar with salads. We also decided against doing a "holiday" or "winter" theme and wanted to do something a bit more fun and unexpected!

We found a school theme online and fell in love with it. We loved that the color theme was red, green, white and black and included chalkboard, but wasn't too Christmasy.

Here is what almost 2 months of planning, sewing, creating, making, organizing and sneaking around looked like....

The backdrop to the goodies table, we created a "chalkboard" backdrop using black butcher paper and cut out a white tree with white butcher paper. There are 7 main branches (done on purpose) to represent the 7 pinnacles of educational excellence that our school stands by. (we wrote those 7 pinnacles on each branch) Also I cut out an apple card with my Silhouette Cameo, one for each staff member, wrote each staff members name on the front and "snuck" the cards into the school and had various kids write a note to each staff member. We taped the apples to the tree.
Aaron (my co-room rep) made the apple shaped cake pops and we added those as the centerpieces to the table where the staff sat to eat.

I happened to have that "report card" tray, which I added chalk too on top of a stack of old books I brought from home.

Aaron also made these to-die-for and oh so CUTE mini cakes for each staff member who had a December birthday. 

The December birthdays also received a little goodie back with apple scented hand soap and an apple scented candle.

We bagged chips into notebook mini bags and added a cute label. 

Since it's December and it's cold and it just so happen to be a very cold day, the Hot Chocolate Bar was very popular. We also had apple cider too.

The main course was a Sandwich Bar where there were a few selections of different breads, meats, cheeses and veggies.  We also had potato salad and fruit salad.

We purchased the utensils in bulk online and hand stamped each one with cute little notes like "celebrate" and "thank you so much". I had found apple napkins at IKEA that went perfectly with our theme which we wrapped one around each set of utensils with bakers twine.

Not pictured is the cucumber infused water in a large glass beverage container. 

The pendant banner pictured above is one we both spent time sewing and had it strung in a zig zag pattern across the room.

A pulled back shot of the room. We took a very cluttered and messy staff lounge and created a very nice space for them to sit down and enjoy their lunch. They LOVED it!! In fact a few of them came back for seconds :) 

Monday, September 2, 2013

a day in the life of a teenager // Summer Edition 2013

A few weeks ago I walked upstairs and past Malia's room when I saw this going on.....

I think they are taking summer way too literally!
Laptop with Grey's Anatomy playing, iPhone texting, the passed out cat (who obviously loves the teenage life) on a perfectly sunny warm day.
This is (was) the scene nearly everyday....
unless she was outside "working on her tan".

Or if mean mom made her do something 

p r o d u c t i v e

So there you have it....
a day in the life of a teenager
Summer Edition 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

sunday best

The best of our past Sunday looked like this....

After church shenanigans 

with cousin Robby too!

I opened a really good bottle of wine and thought I would be funny and write this....
it's been a whopper of a time for us.

We've harvested a couple of tomatoes....a HUGE accomplishment here in Central Oregon since our growing season is short and growing a tomato is practically a miracle. :)
They went really well with our spaghetti dinner that night.

Goofiness before bed....it's my favorite time to snuggle in with these sweeties.

The best of Sunday......
thankful for all the good stuff!

misery ridge trail

A couple weekends ago I took Malia & Carson to Smith Rock (Makayla was out of town) for a hike.
I had been wanting to do the hard trail up there for some time now, so after church we went home and changed into hiking clothes. 
(I didn't mention doing the harder trail to the kids)

We started our walk down and across the river to the trail head and after viewing the sign....
I wasn't quite sure if we were cut out for it. 
But we started to go up and both kids grumbled
"WHAT? Why are we doing THIS trail???! It's the most difficult one!!"
10 steps up and then back down....I was honestly irritated that they were complaining about an activity I wanted to do considering they get do to whatever they like most days.
So we started along the river trail...a mostly flat trail and I got to thinking.....
life isn't always the "easy trail", sometimes we are faced with the most difficult trails (trials) and we must learn to endure & conquered them.
We need to know how it feels to do hard things and how it feels when you've endured them.

 I turned around and said
"We ARE doing the difficult trail!"

So up we went...

It required a lot of breaks....lots of drinks of water.

The terrain is steep and it was hot.

There was a lot of 
"I can't do this anymore" from my teenager. She swore she was going to throw up. She wanted to give up and quit. She just knew she was going to DIE!
I finally told her...
"There is nothing physically wrong with you, you CAN do this! You just aren't use to it since you are usually at home on your bed watching Grey's Anatomy with your cat. This is HARD, but you can do it. You have 3 choices, you can quit and wait here for us OR you can quit and go back down and wait for us OR you can come with us, but I'm not quitting."

Then I proceed along the trail.
And eventually she would catch up, then tell me again she can't go on and I just kept telling her,
"You CAN do this! Look (I pointed to below us) how are you've come, you've accomplished so much already and it's going to be really amazing at the top."

Since there were many breaks to catch our breath and the views were just so breathtaking, we took a lot of photos along the way.

we made it to the top!

And it was so, so amazing!!
And guess what?
My teenager DID NOT DIE! I swear to you...she lived. 
She didn't even throw up.....it was a miracle and I'm pretty sure I saw a glimmer of a smile on her hot & tired face.


After talking to another hiker, we decided to go down the back side and see Monkey Face rather than go back down the way we came.

That blur at the bottom right is Carson as he was walking through the photo as I was shooting in panorama mode. :)

Monkey Face from the top and the views.....spectacular!

I took along my telephoto lens for my iPhone (so glad I did). These are rock climbers on Monkey Face.

Little did we know the "back side" trail would be looooong and one kid would be out of water and the second one almost out and we would be SO hot and tired.

This is below Monkey Face looking up.

You know things can get serious when you see things like this along the trail.

Looking back at Monkey Face...this is where you can really see the "face".

We eventually made it back and the view of the bridge was such a glorious sight to all of us...we were nearing the end and could get water from the water fountain!

Once we made it back to the top where the parking lot is, the kids took a break and sat down for a minute and I told them,
"Look at what you just did!" and pointed to all of what they just accomplished and told them I was so very proud of them!
I also told them that now we can really appreciate a drink of water and AC in our car and a place to rest our feet because we just did something really, really hard! And if we had stayed home watching shows on the laptop or playing Legos or whatever, then we wouldn't really truly appreciate that cold glass of water or just how good it feels to lay on our bed or sit in a chair. We don't appreciate those luxuries when we don't experience hard things.

Life is going to have hard trials and if we don't experience those hard trials and everything is always so easy, then I think we loose appreciation for all the good, easy stuff in our life.

I couldn't be more proud of them....
and I can't wait to go back up there
(with more water!)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

do you ever.....

......just stand back and marvel at the wonderfulness of your life?
and I mean seriously, standing back, being still and soaking in the reality of these gifts?

I don't always have my camera to capture the memories as I'm marveling at them, because I try to etch those moments into my heart forever (because you never know if you'll develop memory loss later in life & I hope those memories can be in there somewhere)

I have a secret confession.....
I love watching my kids. Each one of them
I love observing them. I love seeing how they've grown, who's mannerisms they've inherited and the amazing person they are becoming. 
I love watching their uniqueness.
I love seeing how different they are from one another, yet so similar too.
They are little pieces of my heart......
running, laughing, jumping, skipping along sometimes with sticky fingers or with a cell phone in their hand full of dreams of their futures......
"I'm going to be a mom and have 7 kids and live in a big house on a farm....."
"I'm going to move away and go to medical school....."
"I'm going to catch the bad guys and be in the military and fly planes and shoot guns....."

I watch.
I observe.
I soak in.
I etch it in my heart.

And it's not just my children either......it's the everyday gifts that I want to embrace and enjoy and be thankful for.

I'm also thankful for...
A hamper full of dirty clothes (I'm totally guilty for grumbling at this sight), but it means I'm a mother to some active kids who actually change their clothes, sometimes it's clean clothes and I have a washer & dryer to wash them in. I have to remind myself, "remember when you were expecting your first baby and you just COULD NOT WAIT to wash those little tiny clothes!!?"
I don't think we always think ahead as first time moms that one day those tiny clothes become BIG clothes and maybe there might be more than one child and maybe one child leaves a crayon in their pocket.........

The messiness of everyday life....random kid things lying around, papers, dishes, etc.
One day those kids that have caused all that "messiness" will be living in their own homes, creating their own "messiness". And I'm going to really miss it and wish I appreciated it more.
I'm a neat freak, so this one is HARD for me......I have to constantly remind myself that it's only a chapter and this is our life right here and right now. 
This is what I've wanted all along.....
I've always wanted this and THIS isn't always rose colored glasses.....
sometimes my glasses have peanut butter on them (true story!) and sometimes your shopping cart is full of yarn you never put in there (another true story that I need to tell someday SOON!)
And it's so incredibly wonderful.

No matter your journey, no matter where you are at in your life, whether you have kids, a spouse or where you live.....
there are treasures to be thankful for.
Little pieces of your life that you can stand back and soak it in.

Monday, August 12, 2013


I'm currently out of town and in the middle of nowhere. It's amazing. It's beautiful. It's serene. And incredibly peaceful. I'll blog more about it when I get home :)

Yesterday the kids and I attended church at Applegate Christian Felllowship (I've wanted to attend a service there for years, but it's a LONG drive from my house) and since we were in the area (still a drive) we went. To say it was amazing is an understatement. I've been thirsty for a church that truly moves me spiritually as well as emotionally and where what I hear on Sunday sticks to me like super glue and stays with me the entire week. It was just that. And more. Powerful. The message so simple, yet it awakened my soul and opened my heart a little wider. It gave me peace. I needed some peace. I guess I could go on and on about it, I'm that excited! I'm trying to come up with ways I can make it there every Sunday. :) After the service was a big church BBQ. We stayed for that, because honestly, I wanted to stick around and soak up as much energy as I could and surround myself with some of the happiest, sweetest people.
We took yesterday slowly. I wanted to enjoy every moment. Every little detail. Yesterday was a day for me to focus on slowing down & finding a calmer pace.
This is just part of the congregation at Applegate. 

After a "quick" drive back to our cottage to change, we headed into Ashland for the afternoon. I knew I wanted to go to Lithia Park and take a photo with the kids. Last time we took them there they were just babies!! We slowly meandered into the park and I found a spot to take a photo with my self timer when a cute couple saw me trying to balance the phone and offered to take it for me. Thank you cute couple! 
It still amazes me how short I am next to these wonderful kiddos!

I let the little ones decide what to do next and they chose the play structure. After awhile they wanted to look through more stores and get something to drink. So we were strolling through the park as I was holding hands with Makayla and Carson and thinking how much I love that they still will hold my hand in public and how I wanted to capture it. I asked Malia to go ahead of us and take a couple photos of me walking with them. I have a funny expression, but that's probably how I always look anyway!! HA! But I LOVE Mak & Car's little faces...the cutest!
We spent the rest of the time leisurely walking & wandering, talking & exploring, holding hands and being silly through downtown Ashland until we decided to head back but not before stopping for cold refreshers at Starbucks. We played Slug Blug on our way back to the cottage.... I call it that because that's what gets blurted out in the mist of the game! And it's pretty funny :)

Back at the cottage I prepped dinner and Mak & Car and I decided to check out the teepee that's on the property where we are staying.
And then we checked out this tree with a bench next to it...
Makayla is sitting on the bench and I am pretty sure she is praying :) Probably one of the most sweetest things I have seen as a mother. 

We spent the rest of the evening just being together. And as I laid in bed last night reflecting on the day I realized how I wouldn't want things any other way. I don't want more things or more money or more of this or that. Just more days like the one we just had. I also realized how never once since we left for our little getaway (4 days prior) had I felt the need or desire for alone time. Something I've been struggling with at home a lot lately considering I'm with my kids all the time. I'm not really sure what that means, but...

Yesterday, I'll take you any day. Thank you for a perfectly wonderful day!