Friday, July 25, 2014

Saying Thank You

The girls and I made chocolate chip cookies for the firefighters that helped us when I hurt my hand in the bathroom remodel.  Had been wanting to give them 'thank you' cards and something sweet to eat to say thanks. 

Riley wrote an incredible sweet card made out "To the men who helped us."  She thanked them and then drew a picture.  Julia wrote her name and then used stamps to create a fun card for the men.

Master Bath Remodel

If one bathroom remodel is fun, another one must be even better!!  So happy with the Master Bath redo.  I did the same treatment as the downstairs room - added texture with joint compound and then painted.

We chose a dark color to allow the white counters/moldings and light taupe tile to pop.  When choosing, we actually liked one of the shades on the card and realized it was the color of our master bedroom.  So we went a shade darker and it is now dark grey.  Actually dark granite is the color.  Absolutely love it!!

Total cost was under $100 for supplies, paint and two containers of joint compound.  Awesome!

Looking forward to personalizing it with a few pictures and fun items in the future.  For now, just completely thankful for a new look!

July Meal

Here are some great food ideas for yummy meals using basil.  My mom's basil bush/plant has become so overgrown and we're looking to eat as much of it as possible!  Love that we could have basil as the main ingredient in everything from salad to dessert!


Creamy Basil Dressing


Provencal Chicken with tomatoes, olives and basil

Summer Chicken Saute with basil


Chopped Salad with couscous, chicken and vegetables

Grilled Brined Chicken with Chimichurri Sauce

Braised Chicken in Sun-dried tomato cream


Basil Ice Cream

Basil Granita


Chicken Stock

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Downstairs Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom was finished a few days ago.  And dare I say... it was all worth it!  (not financially... or physically to me... but definitely in the change of the bathroom)

Picked out a color that is called "Ripe Wheat."  It's a darker yellow.  The girls said it looks like pee on the wall.  So there you go.

I accented with burnt orange and brown.  Got a new rug and hand towels.  Then went to Kirkland's and found a mirror on sale for $16!!  YES!

It was so much fun using joint compound and figuring out how to texture walls.  It's truly so easy - if you don't break a mirror on your hand first like I did!  In fact, it turned out so beautiful that Jeremy said "Maybe we can do our master bath like this one of these days."  Which got me thinking that it'd be fun to do!  And inexpensive if I didn't get hurt!  So yesterday I peeled wallpaper and today I used joint compound on our upstairs Master Bath.  Looking forward to painting it tomorrow!!  I truly love transformations!!


AFTER (without mirror and decorations)

Hawaiian Falls

Today we went to Hawaiian Falls for four hours!  The girls and I went around noon (Madi is staying with us this week which has been super fun!) and we met up with her friend Elizabeth and Elizabeth's mom Diane.

Riley and Julia met up with their friends as well.  It was a hot and awesome day for water!

Julia's friend Samantha (Sam) is extremely outgoing and dare-devilish.  Not afraid of anything!  She wanted to go on a water slide and convinced Julia to try it.  Julia said she was scared as we climbed up, but Sam goes "It's SOOO fun!!!  I love it!"  So Julia did it!

She had to walk to the slide herself when it was her turn and then push herself a little ways in.  I saw her big smile as she went down.

We then went to go tell Riley about it (she was playing with a few of her school friends).  Riley wanted to go so the three of us went again.

When I met the girls at the bottom after they went down, they were both so happy!  They begged to do it again - so we did!

The girls each got an ice cream as we left and walked home.  They were totally worn out and happy.  What a great day!


Author:  Christine Caine
Pages:  201

I've had this book on my list of 'want-to-reads' but hadn't gotten it yet.  So glad I got the chance to finally read it.  I'm not very aware of human trafficking and am learning more about it through various things.

Christine and her husband began the A21 Campaign to make a difference in human trafficking.  Her personal story is really fascinating and I loved reading about how they stepped out in faith to make a difference despite being advised that it would fail.

For more information on human trafficking and their amazing ministry, go here:

A few facts about human trafficking:

Only 1-2% of victims have been rescued.
Average age of trafficking victims:  12
Roughly 27 million victims involved in manual and sexual labor in the world.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Natural Talent

Riley started dance classes at a local studio on Tuesday nights for the summer.  She's enjoying it - taking ballet with a very very strict teacher and jazz with another teacher.  Riley wasn't sure she wanted to keep taking dance there and mentioned trying The Colony Dance as her friend Grace dances there and Riley loves Grace and admires her.

When she was two years old, she tried a class at The Colony.  She wasn't even potty trained and was taken aback by the high expectations and how loud Miss Robin was.  She refused to put her feet on either side of her dot so Miss Robin led her out of the room to me and told her she could come back when she was ready.  Riley was never ready to go back in and spent her time watching the kids and crying.  Honestly I wasn't sure that we'd ever try it again because I thought it might have been too hard an experience.  I was willing to let her try The Colony Dance again because I know Robin, taught her son for several years at school and figured that if she wanted to try it, then she must be ready to do it!

I could not be more thankful that we tried it again!!!

Riley is doing a dance camp this week from 10-12 every day with Miss Robin doing tap and jazz.  Robin has been amazed at her ability and talent.  She said she is a natural and will need to start at a higher level dance class due to her technique and ability.  

Julia and I have dropped Riley off at her class and then done other things.  Today I went to my bible study at church and Julia played with other kids.  We watch Riley perform the routine she is learning.  She's just blowing us away at how quick she picks up choreography and how musical she is in her dancing.  So proud!

This fall Riley will be doing dance instead of competitive gymnastics.  She is excited and eager to learn.  We're so happy that she has this opportunity!

The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials

Author: James Dashner
Buy it at Amazon

I wasn't really wanting to read the second book as I've been reading too many dystopian books that are trilogies.  I didn't realize this was a trilogy set and when I found that out, I was bummed because I just wanted to read one book that had a beginning-middle-end and didn't continue into two more books.

I preferred the first book to this book.  Haven't started the third book as I read "The Giver" instead.

The Giver

Author: Lois Lowry
Buy it at Amazon
Pages:  192

Very short read.  Interesting idea.  From Amazon:

Lois Lowry’s The Giver is the quintessential dystopian novel, followed by its remarkable companions,Gathering BlueMessenger, and Son.

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

Thinking I have read enough dystopian novels lately and moving to some other genres for now.

History of Western Music

Last week I finished the entire textbook for my music history exam.  I've taken the nine tests associated with it as practice exams and am studying a few hours a day until I have the big test in five weeks.  Quite nervous about it as there is a lot pending on whether I pass it or not.  I figure the only thing I can control is how much preparation I give towards the test so I'm doing what I need to do.

The book itself is a textbook so it's not necessarily something I would have picked off a shelf (though I LOVE textbooks!).  I found it fun to review and read about music history in a totally different light than when I read my textbook in college.

982 pages
36 chapters
Started in April and read a few chapters a week until summer when I was able to start reading a chapter or two each day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Add Something

Today for piano practice, I asked Riley to play her songs twice through, but to add something to the song the second time like dynamics.  I figured she understood as we've been learning about forte and piano.

She played her song one time.  The next time she played it again and at the end, she improvised her own melody and added a new ending chord.  Then proudly announced "There!  I added something!"

Ear Pain Solved

Riley:  Hey Dad!  You know how I had ear pain the other night?  I figured out how to fix it!  I just had to poop.  Because my ear has been hurting, but now I am going poop and my ears don't hurt anymore.  Just like the other night!


Julia and I came downstairs this morning after playing barbies for a while.  I had asked her to throw away her granola bar wrapper yesterday and apparently she never did.  And I never noticed.

She chose to pick it up without saying anything and threw it away.  I asked her what she was doing.

Julia:  I talked to Jesus about throwing away my trash.  He told me that I could throw it away tomorrow.  So I left it here and I talked to Him about it.  I listened to Jesus.  SO!  I throw it away this morning.  And that was okay!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Maze Runner

Author:  James Dashner

I wasn't too sure where the book was going when it started.  It was captivating and I finished it in just a few hours.  Loved the whole book.  It was an interesting concept and the movie is coming out in September.  On to read book 2 of the series!

Nancy Drew

Riley and I finished reading the book "Judy Moody:  Girl Detective."  She refers to Nancy Drew often throughout the book so Riley decided she wanted to read a Nancy Drew book next.  I thought it might be too scary for her, but we thought it'd work if she read it during the day.

She's starting with the first book "The Secret of the Old Clock."  She read 31 pages on her own (we were so impressed with the large words she was able to read and figure out - Go Riley!!).  Tonight we read two chapters together.  She keeps saying things like "I feel it.  The mystery is coming." and "The mystery is getting close."

I told her that there might be some scary parts as each book has something mysterious.  I remembered one book has a ghost that is actually a person or shadow or something.  Riley responded with "That's fine.  I just picture the ghost in its underwear!"


Riley and my mom planted carrot seeds in her backyard a while back.  Amazingly - they are growing!!

They pulled two carrots today and cleaned them so Riley could eat them.  She gnawed on one of them and seemed to really enjoy it.  Julia was also hungry and extremely tired as she didn't have a nap today.  She wanted yogurt covered raisins, but we were about to leave to eat dinner and I didn't want her to ruin her dinner.  When she snacks, her dinner is never eaten.

I shared with her that she could have some carrots.

She immediately bawled with big crocodile tears running down her cheeks and said "Carrots are bunny food!  I don't eat bunny food!  Bunny food is not for kids!"

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Lessons to Teach

After the Er visit and experience of taking down the mirror on Tuesday, it has been eye-opening to hear what Julia and Riley have had to say about all that happened.

Mommy - don't go near mirrors!
I was sad.
I'm glad I wasn't in the room or I would have cut my hand too.
Is your hand ok now?
Can you rub my back... with your other hand?
Can I rub your arm?

There are several lessons to learn as a parent.  Obvious lessons to some, but ones that have made me really think.

1.  No home project is worth doing if it involves too much risk to yourself - especially if you are home alone with kids.
Wait until there are two adults in the house to tackle a project.  This probably goes without saying, but is a lesson I obviously needed to learn.

2.  Teach your children their phone number (both mom and dad cell numbers!), their address and any important allergy information.
I was always adamant about Riley learning our address and we've practiced this several times.  You can't predict when an accident will happen and she knew it when it was needed.  Same with my phone number.

3.  Teach your children how to dial 911 or emergency on the phone.
Again - so important!

More than a Princess

The girls love reading and we're always on the hunt for great books!  This blogger and mom created a list of great books every girl should read that doesn't talk only about being beautiful.  I love that so many books are gearing more towards girl characters that are smart, funny, thoughtful and creative.

I love this list for many reasons!  Riley has a wide array of interests in books.  Everything from Star Wars to Pollyanna to Charlotte's Web and Bobofett comics.  (I'm sure I spelled the bobofett wrong)  Will definitely be looking into more of these books to read with her!

Books for Girls

Other books that I think are fabulous reads as well:

Secret Garden
Indian in the Cupboard
Charlotte's Web
The Borrowers
The Hundred Dresses
Little House in the Prairie Series
The Courage of Sarah Noble

Friday, July 4, 2014

Reached and Crossed

Author:  Ally Condie
Reached -520
Crossed -  400
Where to get the entire trilogy:  Amazon

I finished the series.  Was a very fast read.  I lost interest along the way but was still curious as to how the series would end.  Eh...  glad to have finality, but wouldn't read them again.  Not bad, but there are better books out there.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Left Hand

With the location of my stitches being under my pinkie and on top of my hand, I have to wear this brace that makes it hard to use my right hand.  Typing is fairly ok as i can use my entire LH and my pointer finger on my RH.

Jeremy told me that if I think something is a good idea to try, I shouldn't do it as it's probably not a good idea for me to do it.

Here are things I am good at doing with only my Left hand.

Be prepared to be impressed...

1.  Brush my teeth.
Try it.  It feels weird but works.

2.  Eat with a fork and spoon.
I have trouble pouring parmesan cheese into my food as I'm not used to how to angle it.  Thankful I can get the food into my mouth.

3.  Origami
Riley and I have spent time creating fun simple origami.  She thanked me that I could do that.  Julia keeps saying "You can get me water with... that hand!"

4. Puzzles

Things I can't do... this list is a LOT longer.  Amazing what I take for granted:

1.  Open my medicine bottles

2.  Push a stroller or grocery cart

3.  Take a shower normally

4.  Zip up my pants

5.  Make hot foods on the stove
Can't carry the heavy pot with water in it to the sink.  Tried.  Not interested in doing it again - felt very scary as I didn't want it to slip and then have a bad burn.

6.  Put on makeup

7.  Shave my left armpit
I'll be half European at the end of two weeks (kidding!)

8.  Write

9.  Many to do origami and focus on what I can do!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Month Six Review

What an awesome month!!  So much learning and growing.  Halfway through the year and excited for what is to come!

Goals for 2014:

1 - Send an email/letter/card to a different person every week encouraging them, praising them and thanking them.  Easy and fun!

2 - Go to Orff Level 2 in Summer of 2014 at SMU.  Did it - loved it!!!!

3 - Start my Master's Degree at SMU... working on all that needs to get done.  Got my parking permit!

4 - Read several books this month.  Focused on my studies for my tests in August - 14 chapters to go.

5 - Only bought necessities but still more than $150

6 -No $$ for the girls allowance and they haven't asked,

7 - Found ways to exercise daily... will likely be lower key next month due to my hand!

8 - no travel yet!  

9 - Used the $$ saved towards costs that came this month.

10 - Do our second annual "Kindness Advent" in the month of December.  Days 1-24 we do kind things for others and family events that bring us together.... coming in December!

11 - Attempted to do the bathroom yesterday, but will return to it in August if I can.  No more mirrors though!

12 - Signed up for the women's bible study at church that starts on July 16!  Can't wait!

13 - No meal in June

14 - Pray for a particular person(s) each day of the week all year - lots of people to pray for this month!

15 - Learn one new song on the piano each month.
Chose this song :
June - Le Secret by Leonard Gautier

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bathroom Redo Gone Bad

I decided today would be a good day to redo our downstairs bathroom.  Got joint compound and paint. Got home and down to work.  Took off a few things and then unhooked the mirror.  It was pretty well stuck to the wall.  Not going anywhere.  This should have been my red sign that I shouldnt have done anything more.  But i was determined.

I put down a blanket to cover the sink (not totally suer why).  BTW typinc with one finger on my RH is hard... ignore spelling for now please.  I got out a hammer and screwdriver.  Started to pry the mirror off the wall.  Really stupid decision.  Got excited when the mirror started to come off.  All i remember next is that it came down, shattered and i looked at my right hand to see that there was blood everywhere.  I felt very faint.  Didnlt want to get blood on the crapet so i leaped across the hallway and got blood om the kitchen tile.  The girsl were in teh front room dressed as ballerinas in leotards and tutus.  Tonight is Riley's first ballet and hip hop dance class!  They were playing so nicely.

I went to the sink to soak my finger and watched my skinmoving which let me know the cut was very deep.  And i thought i was going to faint.  I yelled to riley and asked her to dial 911.  Showed her with my foot where the phine was.  She had trouble doing my code (didn't think about doing the emergemncy button) and i was able to use my LH to get it and then  dial 911.  She was so amazing.

She knows our address and information.  Even shared with them my allergies and that we have no pets and other things.  As i was rinsing my hand, she came to tell me i needed to wrap it tight.  She got out a towel for me.

Couldn/'t get the door open so i quickly unlocked it and opened it.  Everything was going black so I laid down in the foyer next to the dining room.  Closed my eyes but let riley know i was resting but i was ok.  Stayed calm so the girls would stay calm.

Saw two fire trucks pull up.  Riley stayed on the phone and listened to everything they told her.

They bandaged my hand and asked if anyone could get the girls.  I explained that everyone was at work and jeremy would take some time.  they then said the girls could ride in the ambulance with me.  I asked them to go potty before we left.  Riley took care of Julia.  She got my purse, keys and i asked her to gather their ipads so theyd have something to do.

The firefighters cleaned up the blood and the glass from the mirror.  They weres so sweet with the girls.  One held julias hand and did plies and twirls to keep her happy.  Riley got to sit in the sideseat next to the fireman and julia sat in the jumpseat facing backward.  They were so happy to get a ride!!  I smiled often and let them know i was fine.  Julia skipped all the way into the ambulance.  it was a pretty exciting experience!

Once at the hospital, Riley got to push the buttons to let us all in.  i rode in the gurney and felt like an idiot for attempting the mirror.  Julia Danced with the firefighter into the hospital.  They were amazing with the girls.

Took my blood pressure and checked out my hand.  Each person that saw it said id definitely need stitches.  And thst i got it deep.

They took an xray to be sure there werent anyglass pieces in my hand and to check the bone.  As always, God was watching over me.  I had cut throught the sheath of the tendon and my tendon was ok!!  Total miracle it didnt go deeper.  The bone was ok too.  Doc stitched me up - six stitches total.  I have to go see a hand specialist to check on it just in case.  Got a big wrap to keep me from moving my fingers.  Numbing is wearing off.

So incredibly thankful for Riley in particular.  What ana amazing and brave little girl to help and take charge.  So thankful she knows our information - address, cell numbers and much more.  The drs were very impressed with all that she did today.  Sorry to put her through this and yet thankful to know she was able to do what was necessary in hard  times.

The gilrs got tons of smiles and comments on their beautiful leos and dance outfits.  Thankful that all was ok.  I kept it together until Jeremy met us at teh hospital.  Then I got teary and apologized for trying to do the bathroom redo.  He was so sweet and loving.  Never once made me feel bad.  I already felt bad enough and he was so gracious.

His advise:  if it involves tools, just don't do it.  Lesson learned... again.  Though I'm hoping I'm smart enough to not try this again!!