I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking the kids to scout camp. I want there to be a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.
~Marjorie Pay Hinckley~

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Harry Potter Party

I love planning parties for my kids! I get such a thrill from making these fun memories for them. My mom used to do the coolest parties for us, so I guess I am carrying on the tradition for my own kids. Aubree turned 11 this year so this was her last party she gets to have, so we went all out!!!! We have Harry Potter fever at our house, both she and I love the books, so we decided to do a Harry Potter party. She invited 5 girls, plus she and her brothers. As he guests arrived, they took the sorting quiz! I used the one found on the Scholastic website, just typed up and printed out.

I dressed as Professor McGonagall and took them through the process of being new students at Hogwarts. Our first stop was Madam Malkims Robe Shoppe. I made each of them a "house Scarf" made from black felt. Here is Aubree getting "fitted".

The Next stop was Ollivander's for their wands. These were made from wooden dowels, spray painted gold and wrapped with electrical tape at the bottom. I told them that the wand will choose them, so they had to try them out until they found the one that felt right.

Next we had to go through the barrier to Platform 9 3/4. I hung a sheet in the doorway that they had to go through and then down the stairs to Hogwarts.

When we got to "Hogwarts" we had a sorting ceremony. The house they were put into was based on the quiz that they took earlier. After they were sorted I gave them a pin of their house to put on their scarf.

We then had all our classes at Hogwarts (Due to an unfortunate accident involving a troll, Professor Snape was unable to teach Potions. We were going to make silly putty, but I ran out of time and didn't get it put together.) First we had History of magic. We played a matching game involving all the key characters from the first book and what their significance was.

Next was Charms class. We were practicing the Stupefy charm. I played some Harry Potter music, and when the person practicing the charm yelled "Stupefy!" the music would stop and everyone had to freeze.

In Transfiguraion class, everyone was "transfigured" into someone from the book and they had to ask questions to figure out who they were.
For Defense Against the Dark Arts, we had a dementor piniata that they had to yell "Expecto Patronus" as they hit the piniata and try to destroy the Dementor. Inside the Dementor were gold galleons that they got to use later.
For Herbology, we played herbology bingo that was put together by a friend of mine for another Potter Party.
Then we had our Great Feast! We just had Chicken Nuggets and Fries and a Vegetable Tray, but I bought IBC Root Beer and Cream Soda and labeled them as "Butter Beer" The girls thought that was Awesome!!!!

For dessert, we had the cake that Hagrid baked for Harry on his 11th birthday in the 1st book.

When the party was over, we took a trip to Honeydukes Sweet Shop. Here the kids used their Galleons to buy Caldron Cakes, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, Fizzing Whizby's, Acid Pops, Drooble's Best Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs, and Licorice Wands. This is what was most time comsuming, was making the labels and labeling all the treats. But it was worth it because the girls were mezmorized.
It was a fun memorable night!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Aubree is 11!

Honestly? Where does the time go? I can't believe it has been 11 years since my Aubree was born! I hope she had a great day!

She decided she wanted a Hogwarts Cake from Harry Potter. She loves the books. It turned out pretty good!

I had to laugh as she was opening her presents, because she is at that weird age, where she's not a little kid anymore, but not a teenager yet, so she got a barbie doll and some Pixos, but also nail polish and hair stuff!
I am so proud of Aubree and the Young Woman she is turning into. She has had some struggles with shyness and anxiety, but she also works so hard to overcome those things. She is an incredibly smart girl who loves to read. In fact, at PT conference her teacher said that she has to remind her all the time to put her book away and finish her work!!! IF that's the worst problem she has, we are in good shape! She loves Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, anything Disney Channel, and cranking up her music and dancing around! I love watching her grow up and experience life! Love you Princess and are so proud of you!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Brennen #4!!!

My baby Boy turned 4 on January 11th. I can hardly believe it! We had such a fun couple of days celebrating his birthday with him.

Lately he has totally been into Toy Story, so we decided to get him a Toy Story bike, since the little bike the other kids used is completely hammered. He was pretty pumped to see that big present there for him to open!

This is his "Bumble" cake. For those of you who may not know what a Bumble is, it is the snow monster from the Rudolph the red nose reindeer TV special. For some reason this year he fixated on the bumble, and it continued after Christmas. So the week before his birthday when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, I thought he was going to say Toy Story or Mickey Mouse, so the Bumble completely caught me off guard. But I LOVE how this cake turned out! And I love that he is probably the only kid in the history of the world to have a bumble cake!

After we had already bought his presents, I saw this stuffed Bumble at Build a Bear, so I decided instead of giving him the birthday money Grandma sends, I would use the money and order this for him instead. I'm so glad that I did! He is in love with this little guy and takes it with him everywhere!
I feel bad that I didn't get any pictures of his party that we had with his friends. It was a pretty wild event, but very very fun!

I sure love my little Brennie! He makes me crazy sometimes, but for the most part he is pretty sweet and lovable. He always has to wear a costume, as you can probably tell from the pictures. He loves the color blue and loves to eat pizza and chocolate. He loves being in preschool and is learning a lot. We are grateful to have him a part of our family!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Of Things That Matter Most

I have always loved general conference! I love hearing the prophets and apostles speak to us and learning at their feet. Especially since I took a Teachings of the Living Prophets class at institute, and learned how to really effectivly study their words. However, this last conference I literally had a life changing experience due to one of the talks. And when I first listened to it, I thought it was a good talk, and I liked it, but as I reread it in my Ensign a few weeks ago, I had this huge epiphany (I love that word) and have literally changed my life because of these words. The talk was by Pres Uchtdorf and it is titled Of Things That Matter Most . If you haven't already, take the time to read it. I think the reason it means so much to me is because of so many things that are going on in my own life right now. And lately I sit and think how overwhelming it is to be a woman and a mother in the church. I have felt like we have so many responsibilities. not only do we care for our husbands and children (which in and of itself is a HUGE responsibility) but we have everything that goes along with being a saint. We have visiting teaching that needs to be done, we need to get to the temple more often, we have our callings to do, we should go to those Relief Society activities, we need to do service for our neighbors, etc etc etc. Then put on top of that I work part time and also want to be involved in my kids school, there is extended family things and the list goes on and on. And I feel like the things that I do never measure up either. Then I read this talk, and what I heard President Uchtdorf saying to me is KEEP IT SIMPLE! He even says "It is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions."

As I pondered this talk (and reread ad pondered it more) I thought, "Why do we make living the gospel so complicated?" Yes, I need to do my visiting teaching, but I don't need to make a cute handout and a treat in order to go. All the sisters need from me is a visit! Yes, I need to teach that lesson, but I don't need to do all the crafty handouts (that will probably go in the trash anyways.) Yes I need to spend time with my kids, but we don't always need to be crafting or cooking or going on outings. Some of the most fun times we have had as a family lately have been just sitting down and playing board games, or acting out scripture stories, or just being silly together!

So I guess that is my New Years resolution, to simplify my life. I know it's not a measurable goal, but it is something that really means so much to me. So if I don't put on the most elaborate PAck Meetings as Cubmaster, or if I tell you "No I can't be on your PTA commitee, or if my visiting teaching sisters don't get treats, know it's not because I don't care. It is just because I am doing what I can to reduce the clutter of my life and focus on my relationships, with my Savior and with my family.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Dating Divas Giveaway

So I don't usually do these contest things, but I just recently found this website and I love love love it!!!! They have so many fun ideas. This week they are doing a whole week of giveaways and they have some really cool stuff. The site is called The Dating Divas, so go check it out. And hope that I win!