Thursday, February 10, 2011


My brother and sister-in-law (Amanda and Keith) introduced Matthew and I to Home Depot's once a month children's activity. It's on the first Saturday of every month, and the kids get to do a FREE project right there at the store! They get a work apron, a pin, and certificate for each project they do. We have been going as often as Matthew's schedule has allowed (most of his Saturdays have been eaten up with Quorum responsibilities, but now that the President is home, he's off the hook! For the most part :) Anyway, a few Saturdays ago he took Aidan and Emma and they made heart shaped shelves.

For FHE this week, they got to paint their shelves!

Gee, I wonder where Aidan gets his face making ability from?

This is how Parker spent his FHE activity time, locked outside! Cruel, I know, but necessary. This kid has ZERO self control when paint is involved, and we had nothing for him to paint :( Luckily, he's like his dad and enjoys being by himself. Especially outside. He had a blast doing whatever he wanted and not being attacked or pushed out of the way by his older brother and sister. And, don't worry, our backyard is fenced in with a cement wall and our gate has a lock on it. We didn't just shove him outside without being safe!

Align CenterThe finished products in all their glory! Matthew did some touch ups, but they did most of the painting themselves.

Ta-da! Emma put stickers on the back of hers, and Matthew hung them up in their rooms the next day after they were dry!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Making it work

What do you do when you have a 1512 sq. foot house with six people living in it? You utilize every inch of space you can! Recently, I was feeling overrun with all things "kid" and decided to try and contain the chaos to one room. Since we only have three bedrooms and our extra room is a living room/piano room/office, I picked the boys room to double as a play room. It made the most sense, since we already have bunk beds in there.

I had Matthew take the closet doors off so that we could put one of the dressers in there, along with all the toys/puzzles/ect. that are in Tupperware. I am thinking of getting another curtain rod and some long gingham curtains to match the ones they already have, so I can hide what's inside when I want to. But for now, it works!

Since the dresser in the girls room is also a changing table, I got rid of the pad that was on the boys dresser and am using it for storage. The hamper that was in the closet is now on the side of the dresser on top of the dress up clothes.

I was very pleasantly surprised that the table, chairs, kitchen, baby station, and toy box all fit so well.

The boys beds, complete with basketball hoop! Aidan is actually pretty good and makes almost all of his shots :) And, if we happen to have another child in the next few years, and it's a boy, we'll just move everything to the girls room--in the spirit of making it work!

We had a tough decision to make recently in regards to making it work. 1512 sq. feet is not a lot of space for a family of six that may or may not be expanding in the future. When we bought this house, it was at the height of the market high and we over paid by about $50,000 + dollars. As so many other people, we are now stuck in our home for longer than we would like. We had hoped to be in a larger home after two to three years. This July will make six years we've lived on Whistler Drive. In December we were looking at our fiances and deciding what to do. Do we take the money we've been saving for the last five years and a. use it as a down payment for a new house, renting our current home out, or b. do we finally get out of debt (pay off the van, student loans, and credit cards?) It was a tough decision, because both decisions were good ones. Both decisions would better our family circumstances. We met with a broker, were approved for another mortgage, found a rental company, and even looked at some homes. But we weren't ready to do anything quite yet, so Matthew and I decided to take some time and really think it over, pray, and fast. And we did so, separately. We didn't really discuss it, at all, for almost a month. And then after this past fast Sunday, Matthew and I came together and almost at the same time blurted out what we felt. We were to stay, pay off our debt, and make it work. It's not the decision that the "keeping up with the Jones" side of me wanted. I want a bigger house with nicer counter tops and high quality carpet. I wanted 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms and a three car garage. And although someday those things might become a necessity, right now, they are not. We have what we need. Our children are small, and we fit snugly in our 1512 sq. foot home. And by choosing to pay off our debts now, we will be in a better position in three or four years when moving becomes necessary. I am really happy with our choice to stay--something that actually surprises me. I am learning how to be happy with what I have, how to make good financial decisions--not something I've always been very good at. I am learning how to set goals better and work towards them. And, most importantly, I am learning how to be less materialistic and more grateful. We won't be in the house forever, but while we are here we will make it work!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My little pianists

I think music in the home is so important! I didn't have a piano growing up, nor did I ever learn how to play an instrument. Something I wish I had learned how to do. For the last few years I have had my eye out for a used piano. When we first moved here we went to an estate sale, where I found a gorgeous, black, upright piano for only a few hundred dollars. I didn't think much of it at the time, naively assuming that I'd find another one when I wanted to. Well, I didn't. It took four years, but luckily, I found the above piano for a great deal at an estate sale in December. Matthew plays, quite well actually, and it has been beyond wonderful to have him sit with the kids at the piano and play hymns and children's songs. The kids love to play around on the keys and make "music." I am so happy to finally have a piano in our home and to be able to give our kids the opportunity to cultivate a talent that I didn't. Hopefully they will still think the piano is cool when they are sixteen. Matthew tells me not to count on it!