Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Making some Ornaments

These are from before Christmas, but it was part of our DIY movement.

Crayola air-dry clay....genius! No baking, no firing, and tons of fun.



My baby's chubby little hands



Sweet little princess hands.



Agile boy hands.




And here they are.
From left to right:
Reece:snowman
Michael (decided to show us all up and sculpt the real reason for Christmas) Baby Jesus
Marisa: Christmas Tree
Mason: Candy Cane
Maya: Stocking

We will soon be painting these. We intended for them to be hung on the tree, but they are made out of clay and I think they weigh about 10 lbs. each.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

This is our little Nativity, to help our family remember the true meaning of Christmas. I hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas!

video

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Our Christmas Card...to you.


Yes, I was lazy and just used pictures I already had for our Christmas picture this year!


Dear Family and Friends, December 2007

It has been a great year for our family. Here are a few things that have happened this year.

Michael started a new job with a company called Investools. He is an investment coach and is teaching people about the stock market and trading. He enjoys his job and has learned a lot of trading strategies over the past year. He has also received his license to do home appraisals. We are hoping to get an appraisal business going this next year. Michael was also called to be a High Priest last month and is serving as the 2nd assistant in the High Priest Group Leadership.

I enjoy being a mom! I like to organize little playgroups and outings during the day. That way I get to play with my friends while the kids get to play with their friends. My kids are wonderful and bring so much joy to my life. This has been a busy year for my photography business. This fall I had to turn away some business, it is really hard to turn down money, but I only want to be working a few hours each day. I am also shooting weddings and doing some edit work for another photographer. I am currently serving as the 2nd Councilor (Enrichment) in the Relief Society Presidency.

Reece is 7 this year and is in 2nd grade. He is doing well in school and really enjoys math. He played soccer this year and did really well. He finally got the concept of the game this year. After scoring a goal, it added a whole lot of excitement to the game. Reece entered the Reflections Art Contest. He was one of 5 to win in the photography category. His entry will now be judged at a higher level. Reece is such a fun kid with a great sense of humor. He is so responsible and just great to have around.

Maya is 4 this year. She was scheduled to go to preschool, but at the last second the teacher let us know she was pregnant and would not be doing preschool. I have set up 2 different playgroups for her so she can get the socialization she would be missing. We also are doing what we call “Maya School”. It is basically a 30 min lesson to teach her the things she needs to know for kindergarten. Maya is little social butterfly and wants to be doing something with her friends every second of the day. We are lucky to live in a neighborhood with tons of kids, so a friend is never far away.

Mason just turned 2 and almost overnight went from being permanently attached to me, to being Mr. Independent. Almost every sentence includes, “Mine do it”. Meaning, I’ll do it. I love the liberation! Mason is such a sweet boy and the kids just love him. Luckily my kids are all friends and enjoy being together. Currently they each have their own rooms, but chose to sleep in the same room, thank goodness for bunk beds!

We have adopted some pet chickens. They seriously are the best pets! They are easy to feed and they don’t need much in terms of housing. The best part is that we get eggs everyday. We get enough that we don’t buy eggs anymore and still can give some away.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Love the Johnson’s

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Table for Two

Alright, as promised, I'm posting my very favorite gift I am giving this year. Here is the story behind it.

This fall as I was driving home, there was a family bringing all sorts of great stuff out to their front yard. There was a sign that said "FREE". If anyone knows me well, I just can't pass up a good deal, and free is a great deal!!! Michael claims that, "Even if the junk is free, it is still junk." But this day, I hit the jackpot.

Right when I saw this table, I saw it's true potential. I knew that it could become a great table one day, if someone would just put some work into it. So, I took the table, some garage shelves (that are holding food storage in the garage), a boys bike (which I sold for $15), and some great camping chairs. Like I said, I hit the jackpot! I wanted to take all the rest of their stuff, but decided I might look like a total weirdo (instead of just a weirdo).

So here are some pictures of the table when I picked it up.



Here's the story behind the table, I thought it was a great story, and it adds so much to it's character. I can't believe they were giving it away. I was told this story as I was loading the table into my SUV. I actually told them that they had to keep it. They didn't, so I will continue to tell its legacy.

When the couple were dating, the husband decided that he wanted to keep this woman in his life forever. He wanted to do something special for her when he asked her to marry him. So, he bought this table and hiked it up a mountain. He then asked her to go on a hike with him. As they hiked the mountain, a friend of his was setting up the table. As they approached the table, she saw a beautiful candle lit table set with a dinner for two. As they ate at their table for two in the candle light, he asked her to marry him.

Isn't that so terribly romantic?

Here it is after I
1. Sanded
2. Primed
3. Painted
4. Top coated
5. Made cute little cushions for it



And the lucky winner of this gift goes to my mother-in-law Laree. I won't even care if she doesn't like it, then maybe I can keep it.

What is your favorite gift that you are giving???

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Handmade Pledge





OK, I didn't fully take the pledge, but I did try. Here are a few of my attempts at making gifts.



Maya's cute Christmas PJ's, tight on her bum, and oh so bell bottomy. I had to try them on her while she was sleeping to make sure they fit.





The boys are getting matching BYU PJ's this year.

My mom would always put cute little tags in the clothes she made me that said "Made by my Mom" or "Stitched with Love", she recently made me something and it had a sweet little "handmade by mom" tag in it. I need to find some!


And here are the scrumptious neighbor treats we are handing out this year. They aren't just any chocolate covered pretzels, they had caramel wrapped around them before they were dipped. Do you know how hard it was for me to have 5 lbs. of caramel in my house, and not eat the whole thing!?!?!?

Even Michael got into the fun. He is making me a gift. I'm so excited to see what it is!!!

Tomorrow I will post my very favorite handmade gift. I love it so much, I want to keep it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Better Watch Out, Better Not Cry!

Every child has to have a picture like this in their scrapbook, right? Poor Mason was terrified even when Maya sat on Santa's lap, who was of course the first in line. What did she ask him for? Bath salts. I think that is the easiest request given to Santa I have ever heard! No complaints will be heard from her mom. Anyways, when Mason saw that Maya was on Santa's lap, he shot me a look that said, "don't even try it." He wriggled out of my arms and took off running the other way. Being the queen of pictures, I wasn't going to allow this photo opp to pass. I told Santa to hold tight till I get a picture.

As Mason got released from Santa's arms, he was given a candy cane. Mason threw it on the ground and ran crying the other way. He wanted nothing to do with the whole thing. As I look back it reminds me a little of the incident in Urgent Care with Maya. Again, I was part of the torture treatment. Not too much harm done, right? Just a little distrust with mom, maybe a little post traumatic syndrome a few years down the road, is it worth the picture? I think so.

Reece informed me after sitting on his lap that it wasn't the real Santa. He noticed his boots were a piece of vinyl over his shoes, he is just too observant!

What are your favorite Santa moments???

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Cameron!





23 things about my brother Cam who is turning 23

23. He went on a mission to Italy
22. He got 'dear johned' on that mission with a wedding announcement
21. He is now a newlywed
20. He played the drums in a 'sweet' band in high school


19. I used to call him Charlie Horse


18. He liked wearing his speedo when he was on swim team
17. He ran cross country like his big sis
16. He played lacrosse like his big sis
15. He loves his big sister marisa
14. He is the youngest of 5 kids





13. He is an uncle to 4
12. He planned a huge party while his parents were out of the country, "Camapalooza"
11. He is the only child of the 5 siblings not to get caught sneaking out of the upstairs windows, and climbing down the bricks.
10. He is an Eagle Scout


9. He was escorted home by the police on Sunday with his church group for throwing water balloons at cars
8. While at a concert, his car had a cement block thrown through the window, his spare change was stolen.
7. He drove his car through a puddle that was too deep and blew the engine, after his mom warned him not to
6. Him and his friends went canoing they brought the 3 canoes home and stored them in my parents pool
5. He likes to wear girl jeans
4. He knew everything about the womans body before he entered high school. He had 2 great teachers for sisters.




3. My sister and I liked to dress him up like a girl
2. He almost bit all the way through his tongue when he was like 3, the next day he was eating potato chips and pretzels, OUCH!
1. He ROCKS!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Isn't this the sweetest little face?


This is from a recent sitting I shot, she is actually my cousins daughter. I just love the look on her face and her big clear blue eyes.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Maya's battle wounds

Poor little Maya, she was the first one of the kids to get a black eye, and is now also the first to get stitches. Hopefully none of my kids will break bones, but if any of them do, I'm sure Maya will be the first!

The neighborhood kids were playing outside in the snow, making snow houses. They were using snow shovels to make a big mound of snow. One of the kids swung the shovel to move some snow, she missed and it hit Maya right above her right eye. It sliced through her eyebrow and a little bit above as well.

I took her to urgent care to get her stitches done. They put some gel on the cut to numb the area. We then waited for it to take effect. About 30 mins later the nurse came to see if it has worked. It didn't, Maya could still feel the area. So, she got a series of shots in the cut. That was the beginning of the meltdown. The nurse came back about 5 mins. later to see if the shots had numbed the area. It hadn't. They tried more of the gel stuff, this time, she squeezed a whole bunch right onto the cut. They came back about 20 mins later to see if it was numb. It wasn't. Another series of about 6 shots right into the cut. They came back about 5 mins later to start the sewing.

At this point, Maya is naturally freaked out anytime the doctor or nurse even moves. She is screaming, "NO MORE POKIES, NO MORE POKIES!" We tried to convince her that all the "pokies" were over. I assumed that the area had to have been totally numb by this point. Well, it wasn't. We got her calmed down enough and I told her it wouldn't hurt anymore. She calmed down enough, but was still pretty squirmy. They called in another nurse to help pin her down. The doctor began the stitches and again she started screaming. It obviously wasn't numb. The doctor tries to get the stitches in twice, but she was squirming and screaming to much. They call over more nurse re-enforcements. We now have 4 nurses on top of her and me holding her hands and legs down. They do another series of about 6 shots right into the cut. The doctor tries the stitches again. It doesn't work.

It was obvious that the doctor was annoyed at me and my daughter. He told me that I needed to go to Primary Children's and they could sedate her. That was NOT an option for me. I did not want to drive across town and wait in another waiting room (the wait at Primary's would have been hours long). It would freak her out even more if I told her she was going to go through the whole process again. I told the doctor we would try one more time. I took my coat off, cause I was getting a workout trying to hold Maya still. I sat Maya up gave her a hug and got her to calm down. I then told the nurses to hold her tight, I apologized to Maya, and made her lay down. She screamed each time the doctor put a new stitch in, and again when he was tying the string. We could get her to calm down in between. I was in tears. I felt horrible as a mother that she was screaming out for me, and I was one of the people holding her down during the torture.

She was fine once it was over, until the doctor says, "Alright, we will see you back here in 5-7 days." WHAT?!?!?!? We have to come back to get these things out!?!? What happened to stitches that disintegrate? And I have heard so many amazing things about the glue stitches. Why couldn't we have gotten some of those? Anyways, I will not be going back, I have two friends that are nurses, I'm hoping one of them will take them out for her while she is sleeping or something.

She got an ice cream on her way home and then she got to show off her battle wound to her friends as we decorated our gingerbread houses.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Spice-O's

Have you ever had a million dollar idea, but didn't follow through with it, or didn't really think that it would work?

Well, my friend Megan and I LOVE to come up with 'million dollar ideas'. We each come up with about one a month. We call each other and talk about all the details, how great it will be, why it will work, why there is a need for it, and all the romanticism of the idea. Our husbands have heard so many of these ideas, that they kind of shrug and say, "yeah, that's cool, sounds like a good idea". They know that in a couple weeks, we will be out of the current phase, and onto a new idea. But, I know I can count on Megan to get excited about the idea and indulge me in my dream. The best part is that she doesn't criticize me for not following through with any of these ideas, she understands it is just fun to dream them up. Some of our 'million dollar ideas' have included restaurants, magazines, pop-up books, a birthing center, miniature towns, book stores, toy stores, and, the list could go on and on! Now, these weren't just regular ideas, but new and exciting twists on old things.

Well, Megan and I came up with a million dollar idea back when we were about 14 or so. It was a new twist on a tried and true product. Little did we know how great our idea actually was. It is now being mass produced!!! And to think, we could have been millionaires at a mere age of 14.

This is a picture of us when we were about 14. I'm on the left, and Megan is on the floor up front. We look like aspiring millionaires, don't we?


Our product was called Spice-o's. I think we were really bored one day and decided to make ourselves a snack, so we fried up some Cheerios and added a bunch of spices. It was so good, that we made it often and even came up with a name for the product.

Well, I needed something at Sam's Club. As a bribe to get my kids to go to Sam's without complaining, we make the rounds to get the free samples. We pulled our little cart up to the first sample and it was a new Cheerios product. I grabbed a little cup full for each of us. I think I almost fainted right there when I tried it. They must have stolen our recipe!!! It tastes EXACTLY like the Spice-o's we made 13 years ago. Who would have thought two obnoxious little girls could have come up with an amazing million dollar product!

If you want to try a the knock-off of Spice-o's that Cheerios came up with, here is what the bag looks like:


Now, if I could just convince my husband to get me a personal assistant to sort through these ideas that I come up with, and help me follow through with one of them, maybe I will actually be recognized for having the next million dollar idea!

What is your million dollar idea?

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Thousand Splendid Suns


I just finished 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' by Khaled Hosseini. If you read 'The Kite Runner', and liked it, you will also like this book. If you loved 'The Kite Runner', like I did, you will also Love this book. Instead of a story of two boys, this is about two women in Afghanistan. It is such a powerful story, I honestly couldn't wait until there was a spare second that I could keep reading.

It is about two women living in Kabul and the events leading up to their meeting and then their lives together. It really is eye opening as to how wonderful living in a free country is and how great we really have it. This book really makes you empathize with people in Afghanistan and helps you understand that they have the same emotions, desires, and fears as we do.

I received 'The Kite Runner' as a gift last year, it took me about 8 months to actually start reading it. I don't know if it was prejudice or what, but I had never read anything set in the Middle East, and I just couldn't imagine myself liking it. But, believe me, it is time well spent. These books are not a series, so you don't have to read the first one to understand the second.

If you want a great read for over the Holidays, this is my recommendation. Just beware, you will need a box of tissues.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Maya Maya Maya


This was another procrastination project. But really, this was so much more fun than laundry or cleaning the house.

Reece is starting to feel a little left out, and rightly so. So, next time I have a few things I don't feel like doing....I'm sure Reece will be getting some fun new things in his room.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Before and After

I'm a big time procrastinator, don't get me wrong. I'm one of the worst. But, when I procrastinate, I don't sit on the couch and watch TV, I don't go shopping, I don't talk on the phone, I don't read a book.

I start a new project.

Here is a recent procrastination project. I got this dresser/mirror combo for free from a friend, it has sat in my garage for months. I haven't had any desire to do anything with it all those months it has been occupying valuable real estate.

I have a few things that I was supposed to get done. But, I really convinced myself that painting an old dresser and mirror was WAY more important than my obligations. I mean really, Maya does need a dresser with a mirror. She is a girl for heavens sake. The almost identical white dresser she has right now just will not do any longer. Painting this dresser became my number one priority.

I finally got it finished, thank goodness...just in time to finish another project for Maya's room.



Ta Da....


It is really cute, huh?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Turkey Day!

In the 9 years Michael and I have been married, this was the first year we have cooked a 'real' Thanksgiving meal. Every year we have spent Thanksgiving at a family members house and just had to bring the drinks or a pie or something.

There was the one year that my sister was living with us, my little bro Cam was at BYU and we wanted to have a Thanksgiving meal that didn't involve a turkey. So, we had an untraditional Thanksgiving at our house. We decided that we would make the items that we liked, and not feel obligated to have the other items.

Michael and I were in charge of the main items. Instead of turkey we had a rotisserie chicken, we like rolls, so we had those, but cranberry sauce was forbidden. Mashed potatoes are always good. We put my little brother in charge of those. He didn't have a mixer, so he made them in the blender. Never heard of doing that, but I applaud him for his creativity! I can't remember what else was on the menu, but it was all food that we liked.

So, this year, we were going to do the same thing. That was UNTIL I went to a Holiday Cooking class and tasted how amazing everything COULD be. So, little by little during this class, I decided that I really did like everything involved in the traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Luckily I have an amazing cook for a husband, and he made just about everything. He woke up at 5 am to get the turkey started. He mashed the potatoes, made some amazing yams, and the most flavorful gravy I have ever tasted. I felt like a failure with my lame attempts in my homemaking skills. I microwaved the stovetop stuffing, microwaved the green beans and poured the french fried onions on top of them. Luckily, my saving grace was the rolls I made from scratch the day before. They actually turned out! They were soft and flavorful, and they weren't burnt on the outside and raw on the inside! I did buy Rhodes rolls and have them waiting for me in the freezer in case my rolls didn't turn out.

All in all, we had a great Thanksgiving meal, and I have so much to be grateful for.

This was the kids after dinner craft yesterday. They turned out cute, huh?
Reece made this turkey at school. Oh, how I wish I could spend my day gluing beans, macaroni, and paper.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Speaking of girls camp.....

I don't have many pictures from my earlier years at camp, so I will show what I do have.....


Those famous braids that started the braid revolution at Camp Liahona.
It started with just one little first year named Marisa with her hair in braids. Each year more and more girls caught the spirit of the braids, until it almost became part of the dress code.

See what I mean?




And I think that everyone who has ever been to girls camp went on a "snipe hunt". Kathy is being attacked by those snipes, you really have to watch out for them, they are dangerous!

Dee Jones- what a trooper!
Me and Kathy, I'm not sure what is on her face. Why aren't we in the pool, it was probably like 110 degrees outside.

Oh, and it never got old to TP someone's cabin. But, I think the highlight of our camp experience was the search for the largest bra in camp, find a way to get it, and run it up the flag pole. Boy, that was ALWAYS funny. (Notice the bra hanging with the toilet paper)

My sister Lins. Notice my "shady ladys" shirt. I loved that shirt.

Sorry to sell you out ladies:
From left to right, Theresa, Meghan, Stephanie and Kathy (the 3 on the right comment on this blog)

My sister on the right with her buddies.

Oh, and the great skits our leaders came up with. Seriously!!! We had amazing talented leaders who helped us rock the house down.

Not sure what the war paint was for, but we probably were about to make some trouble, or we just finished making trouble.

OK, I can't believe I don't have ANY pictures of Megan A., Cathe J., or Christine R. in here. They were my main partners in crime. But, Like I said, I don't have pictures from the early camp years.

Here are a few of my favorite moments at girls camp...

Cathe and I broke into the mess hall and got on the microphone that broadcasts over the whole camp and sang this song.
Grow little boobies bigger bigger,
I want a brand new figure figure,
I want to look like Marlyn Monroe
Grow little boobies, grow grow grow.
I think at that point Sister Caruth sprinted into the mess hall and confiscated the microphone.

Another great moment was when Cathe and I decided to scare the girls that had to be in tents. So, we were running from tent to tent shaking the tents and screaming to scare the girls. When we were running away from the tent we attacked, I tripped. I was laughing so hard that I wet my pants. I think I won the "depends" award that year, and was given a few diapers when we got home.

I think all the Young Women Leaders of Kingwood First Ward from the years to 1991-1997 all have a huge castles waiting for them up in heaven, just for putting up with all of us.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ma and Pa



Michael and I got a call from our church leaders and we have been asked to be a "Ma and Pa" for the youth of our church as we go on a Pioneer Trek. We will be pulling handcarts like the one shown below, and will be traveling parts of the handcart trails the Pioneers traveled in the 1800's. We will be given about 8 "children" and will act as a family during this trek. We will be traveling about 30 miles over a 4 day period. Everything we will be bringing will have to fit on the handcart. We will also be dressing the part. Michael will be wearing a long sleeved button down shirt, hat, and possibly suspenders. I will be wearing a full length skirt, apron, and bonnet. All of this will be happening in July. Wow! I can already imagine how great I'm going to look with no makeup, no shower for a few days, no hairspray, and a whole lot of sweat!

Call me crazy, but I'm actually really excited about it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Twilight


Have you read it? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment on it, and take the poll in the upper left hand corner!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Our Halloween Costumes

I finally uploaded our Halloween pictures to my computer. Here they are, what do you think?Isn't this the cutest Jack Sparrow you have ever seen? Well, Johnny is a pretty good looking Jack Sparrow as well.


Our little princess Belle.

Reece is in the middle, he is Davey Jones from Pirates of the Carribean.
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