Sunday, November 30, 2014

so how was nursery today?


can also be applied to relief society anything.

scenes from a sunday

1- before the crazy started. one of the disadvantages of having two kids in nursery is that they are there to set up and play with the toys and activities a solid 15 minutes before everyone gets there. junie is pretty good about continuing to play, but peej. let's just call him "destructo" shall we? siiiiiiigh.
2 - sweet folau engaged in the pegs activity 
3 - the crazy twins working on the crazy eyes magnet board
4 - salted caramel cookies. not homemade, bought the mix at walmart then baked it. AMAZING
5 - post nursery recovery fries. i'm working on it. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

i'm not a holiday mom. like at all. you wouldnt be able to tell by my pinterest boards. i mean, maybe you could tell, a little. the only time i was ever the least bit festive was if i was invited to a holiday themed play date and/or a church activity but that's about the extent of it. we don't do traditions, we don't have decorations, no special christmas eve dinners, no turkey at thanksgiving (we do a tongan thanksgiving here with lupulu and manioke. no matter how hard you try to photograph lupulu to make it look good, it just doesnt, but it tastes AMAZING), no easter baskets for the kids with crazy gifts. we don't do any of that. maybe, just maybe we'll remember to wear green for st pattys day. holidays... they just aren't my love language. i feel no pressure whatsoever to display a festive home on social media. plus, i have ZERO storage in my house for decorations. so basically, if it's out, it's out. like my christmas tree kitchen towel that we keep using since last christmas or the christmas lights that just stay up in the room because white christmas lights can go with any time of year. i also HATE black friday.

i guess i inherited this low-maintenance (or no-maintenance) holiday thing from my parents. they weren't crazy holiday people either. the grams would buy a few christmas things that we've used for years like the clay village pieces that you could paint and we loved painting those together. or the over expensive "the nutcracker" spinning twirly thing that played all the music. we did have matching wal-mart sweats a couple of years and we usually open gifts when everyone is awake and start from youngest to oldest. but other than that, we just enjoyed the time off from work and school and the chance to lay around and do absolutely nothing except maybe go out to eat a lot and go to the movies. good times. serious good times.

today i was feeling particularly sorry for myself. i literally laid around the house and didn't do anything. i'd just scroll and scroll through all 50 of my instagram accounts, then scroll some more. i walked around mindlessly. i indexed about 80 names today, threw in a couple loads of laundry and that was the extent of my productivity. the sun was out and it actually looked like a day i should have taken the kids outside. ohhh pregnancy and cold weather and basement living, how you take away my motivation to do anything. it was a very existential day. like, WHAT AM I DOING ANY OF THIS FOR!? but then my husband came home early, we all took a long nap and i finally got a shower and put on my face and felt so much better.

life is ridiculous but so, so good, isn't it? between all of the sadness that is the ferguson situation, the anti-duggar campaigns and everything else that is awful floating around in the news and social media, i hope you can dig down (but not too far) to find what you are grateful for. just take a break from whatever it is you are busying yourself with

i'll start with....

- an incredible husband who accomplishes everything he sets his mind to and who works so hard to build our life physically and spiritually
- two hilariously beautiful fair haired babies who drive me crazy in all of the best ways and make life better than i could have ever imagined
- a warm place to live, food in my fridge, too many clothes and lots of extra things in between
- the best parents who still parent me a lot and have become the worlds greatest grandparents

how about you?

enjoy your family day, don't stress.

Monday, November 24, 2014

quiet service

it's thanksgiving week, which means a lot of reflection time and/or stress. for me it's reflection. i don't stress about thanksgiving. i'm not really a holiday person. i love holidays, but i don't go all out decorating every inch of my house or carrying out traditions. and i don't do the black friday thing either cause well, we don't have the money for that, as cheap as things are. it's not worth getting into more debt just to buy stuff and battle the other crazies out that day.

the other night, when i was feeling particularly sorry for myself, i had this thought. and it basically went like this:

before i was pregnant, i could go out, often, and deliver treats to friends. help watch their kids if they had appointments or were pregnant and needed some rest. i could show up to a service project and actually serve and work and sweat along side everyone else. i didn't have to do a lot of coordinating to get out my door and to a tiny bit of service. 

but now, two kids later and another pregnancy in the works, i can't. do. anything. i'm too tired to leave my house. i can't run into different stores to stroll around and find things that will cheer people up without a massive production of prepping children to head out the door then wrestle them in and out of car seats and in and out of shopping carts. geez, typing the entire process is making me tired. this pregnancy, just thinking about slightly strenuous activities literally makes me tired. and service projects? there's no way i can go to a service project because my husband probably has to be there and one of us has to chase the kids and it can't be him. 

and then in the same train of thought i became literally enlightened and it finally hit me: my service is here at home with these babies and my husband. my husband is a bishop right now, and his service is needed much more than mine. the service i can give him is to take care of the kids and the home and let him go out and take care of everything he needs to. it's caring and teaching my children.

i mean, we all know that, but do we really, really, know that? has it sunk in? it finally sunk in for me. i don't always love it, but i get it now.

and to sum it all up in the most perfect way possible, my friends at the small seed wrote this on IG one day:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

on free play

images via 

or "free time." i know you've probably seen articles floating around on FB or passed through forwarding emails regarding the reduction of "free time." parents are doing it through overscheduling their children, schools are doing it pushing kindergarteners to try to read at first grade levels and all that. i often catch myself surfing through pinterest to try and find "scheduled activities"for my kids to do.

first of all, my kids are TWO and THREE. every thing i've read (like here), especially through charlotte mason homeschooling curriculum, says to just let the kids that age play. there is no curriculum for them yet because they are just supposed to use their senses and explore on their own. this is hard for me. i feel like i'm not really doing anything for them if we don't have an organized activity and then i get upset if an organized activity doesn't go the way the pinterest picture portrays. and then i realized, that i'm trying to distract them instead of interact with them. being engaged in anything really for five minutes is much better than the struggle and frustration to distract them for ten.

for nursery party, don't confuse "free play" with a "lack of schedule." that is a common misconception and feels like it's easier for a nursery leader to just let the kids play for two hours. first of all, that defeats the purpose of nursery, learning the gospel of Christ. second, kids that age in a nursery setting need a schedule. not a rigorous schedule where they are constantly busy, but a schedule to help them feel like they know what is going on, so they know what to expect and can be more helpful. third, it keeps your sanity as a leader. you aren't trying to make up activities when the kids finally get tired of playing with toys. and fourth, it gets them ready for sunbeams. if the kids don't learn how to sit through a lesson (or the concept of sitting, cause getting a bunch of toddlers to "sit" through a lesson is rough but at least they are learning the principle!), or sit through singing time, it makes life more chaotic for the sunbeam teachers and up and up and up.

it really starts in the nursery!!

here are some fun, motor skill building, interactive toys (for cheap!) for the kids that i love:

Friday, November 21, 2014

lesson printable and craft for lesson 15 - I will be thankful

november, thanksgiving. so we are going to be doing gratitude activities the last couple of weeks this month, duh! i spent all of last week revamping our closet with the motor skills activities, that i really didn't have time to think of a thanksgiving thing. and my personality is to make things as simple and stress free for myself as possible. which means i'm only doing one big thanksgiving lesson/activity the week of thanksgiving. it just makes my life 10 million times easier. i'm juggling two kids under three by myself every sunday since my husband is the bish, so naturally i'm all about the one-trip-wonder method. gather everything--bags, nursery stuff, snacks, kids and take it all all in one trip into the building.

i've created a simple printable for coloring and a craft! each printable i create, i want the kids to have the opportunity to learn, see letters, color in lines, etc. not just color a picture. though your nursery party kids may not be able to read just yet, some might be able to identify letters, enjoy learning a phrase. the printable provides some dialogue for the teacher. dialogue = extending an activity by four to five minutes (in my personal experience!) i'm all for making the time go by!

hopefully most of these things you already have in your house or can find for cheap/free at different places. and if you don't have stuff and not a lot of budget, ask the parents of your nursery party kids if they have things they can save (like toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, pringles cans) or donate (scraps of paper, paper bags, lunch sacks, etc). if they are anything like me, they'll have hoards of craft things hanging around the house that their spouses are dying to get rid of.

and here's the "I will be thankful" booklet that you can use in addition to the worksheet provided in the manual.

i love free hand stuff. let the kids put stickers, stamps, markers, pens, crayons all over this little booklet. the older kids might enjoy tracing around the letters and coloring them in.

just print, cut and staple! and if you want it to appear to be a little fancier, use that vintage brown looking scrap book paper for the cover page and the last page.

here's the link, enjoy!

if you are having trouble downloading it, send me an email at and i'll send you a copy!

and here is the thanksgiving paper plate turkey! cut the paper plates, the toilet paper rolls, beaks and draw the eyes in before you take them to your activity, helps keep the attention span! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

[missionary monday] - toddler approved motor skills package

my sister, Marie, is on a mission in Vancouver, WA. if you see her, say hi, give her a hug. she'd love that, and she's a great hugger.

anyways, seeing that i'm blogging on the regular now, somewhat with a purpose, my mind never shuts off and i am always jotting down ideas. one of my ideas in the middle of a night when i desperately needed sleep was to see if my sister could use some of these things we had just found at the dollar store as teaching helps. mostly as a way to help small children keep quiet and occupied (and to feel engaged in something) during lessons.

last monday came around and she replied with, "Answer to my prayers. That would help SO MUCH. I was going to ask you for stuff like that in this week's email."

how validated do i feel right now??

we've always kind of functioned on the same wavelength with eight years in between us (i'm the oldest and she's the youngest) so this whole email correspondence was a little hilarious but mostly awesome.

here's the breakdown of the package:

Travel sized peg set - $1 -  found these at the dollar tree but you can find them at walmart or target or anywhere that will have travel sized games in the game/toy section. right now, these are all over the place because it's the holidays and they are great stocking stuffers. 

Homemade notebook - took some leftover scrapbook paper, cut computer paper to fit inside, then stapled it. i taped the sharp side of the staples on the back cause those snag and cut little hands. 

Ambulance puzzle - $1 - found this at the dollar store. i drew the numbers and the dotted lines because as cute as these puzzles are, they need a little guidance for toddlers.

Smiley stickers - $1 - dollar tree score as well. it gets pretty overcast up in the PNW so i wanted her to have sunshiney stickers. 

you can also insert lacing cards. those are fun and I need to pick some up.

make sure to put anything with little pieces in ziploc bags so they are ready to go when the package is opened.

total for this package is a little under $10 including postage!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

uh, men can be nursery people too

so, i'm doing a lot of researching (aka switching back and forth between facebook, instagram, downton abbey, food) and found that there's a lot of things that cater to the women-folk. ahhh, yes, the women of nursery. (no, there's not a feminist rant in the following paragraphs. wrong blog for that!)

well, hate to break it to you, but men can have callings (i.e. designated responsibility assigned by his bishop) in nursery, too! whooooooa. i know, it's rare, but they do! and they are often really, really good at it in their own way. it's kind of like in a family/new parents' how to article where it suggests that the wife try as much as possible to let the husband figure out his own special way of parenting. it's kind of like that having a guy in nursery. instead of trying to control how he talks to the kids, or how he lays out the snacks, give him a little guidance and let him roll with it. plus, kids love guys, they love the change in the vibes they put out. it's different from the women, and that's a great thing.

i went home to austin this past summer and my mom was no longer the nursery leader. in fact, she hadn't been the nursery leader for almost four years. she was called to be the stake nursery specialist. yeah, i didnt even know they had that! but the lady has a divine gift or sixth sense or something when it comes to children. i get a lot of what i know from her. i'm trying to convince her to hold workshops when she comes to town. aaaanyways, a new nursery leader was called. an awesome brother who was previously a ward clerk, had a wide age range of children from college to kindergarten. his assistant was another older gentleman who had kids in high school. they had an older widow woman as a nursery helper. their system was simple but incredible. nothing out of the ordinary, but still so so great. and they didn't take any credit for it! they said they inherited the schedule and the supplies from the previous nursery leader (who also did an amazing job). but watching them care for and interact with the kids was 100% them and the good man upstairs. it re-motivated me to do better in my calling both as a nursery leader and as a mom. sure they got a lot of transitional help from the previous leader, but this was their show now and it was great.

point of that personal anecdote was to just briefly share that men are pretty great in nursery too, so don't count them out!

a lot of what i post will be for both men and women called to serve in nursery party and a lot of it will be crossovers into homeschooling, parenting, keeping toddlers busy during the winter, at doctors appointments, wherever you find a situation where you need to teach/entertain/interact with the under four crowd.

the usual,

keep it simple & teach the doctrine. and pray, pray a lot.

Sending you all the best vibes in the world,


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Magic in the Manual

what to know what the magic is?

reading it.


the intro has so much good stuff in helping you figure out how to stick to the doctrine and keep things simple.

too often, we think that we have to scour the internets to find tips and ideas for nursery, and their are lots. we can thank the overload of technology and social media for that. but when you find yourself with brain farts and blockages, go back to the manual. seriously, good stuff. simple stuff. obvious stuff.

and then, you should probably consult the man upstairs, because not every nursery is the same, not every kid is the same. things that work for my nursery party may not work for yours. the needs are different, the dynamic of leaders are different.

keep it simple & teach the doctrine. 

Sending you all the best vibes in the world,


Friday, November 7, 2014

{Pinterest Review}: Pipe Cleaner Strainer and Pool Noodle Beading

here's a round-up/brief review of a couple of pins from pinterest that i tried with my nursery. some of these probably really worked well for the kids in your nursery or maybe they failed miserably. i'd love to hear from you on why yours worked/didnt work!

Activity: Pipe cleaners in strainer
Rating: B-

Review: Lasted about three minutes. I had only two strainers (yay for tight budgets and limited storage space), lots of pipe cleaners, way too many kids who wanted to try it at the same time and lost patience because of the waiting to take turns. Mostly human error on my part, kids want their own things to work on! Who knows, we may try this again when we clean out the closet and acquire more funds.

Suggestion: Better for nurseries that have five or less kids and lots of adult one-on-one accessibility. OR if you have lots of kids in your nursery, split into smaller groups and have an adult help each group. OR have another activity going on at the same time so you don't have to have one strainer per kid to occupy everyone.

Activity: Pool Noodle Beads
Rating: B

Review: Seasonal, so you have to remember to get pool noodles in the summer time. If using the dollar store jump ropes, make sure you tape off the ends cause they fray really quick. Kids who are teething or little boys in general like to bite these and then they get ruined. But was pretty good for my toddler at home to play with by herself. 

Suggestion: Save on the space in your closet and just use cereal and string, cut up straws and string, anything other than the pool noodles. #dointoomuch. But if you want to get double usage out of them and utilize them as building blocks, that could work too. Just beware the chompers.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

i conquered a massive crazy house post halloween nursery party in relatively good spirits

the nursery was CRAZY. C-R-A-Z-Y. i mean, every kid either cried, cried then vomited, threw a tantrum, jumped on the tables, pushed over chairs, fought over toys, yelled during singing time, ran around, bonked heads, threw snacks on the floor, spilled water, ripped their craft papers, etc. (i know, after all of that there is still an etcetera.)

this was probably a result of post-halloween-massive-sugar-hangover. nursery is definitely not like this every sunday, not at all. now that i know about the post-halloween nursery party sunday, i'll try to write it in my nursery calendar to plan for it next year aka bring sedatives, load them up with turkey, turn all the lights off, light sleepy candles that sort of thing.

whelp, in the end, i felt like i handled it pretty darn well considering the situation. my nursery people might say otherwise. but in the spirit of feeling awesome about not completely losing my cool in front of the kids and turning into a rage momster...

so then i loaded them with fruit snacks and sent them on their way when their parents came to pick them up.

you're welcome, mom and dad. #sorrynotsorry about the sugar rush you had on your way home and into the first few minutes of nap time.

as always,

keep it simple & teach the doctrine. and pray, pray a lot.

Sending you all the best vibes in the world,