Monthly Archives: August 2013

My 2 cents on Miley, Kate, and My Daughters’ Self Worth.

From Kate Middleton’s tiny tummy and Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance, to articles and opinions all over Facebook and twitter, my head is spinning with everyone’s idea of women and what their body roles and social expectations are.

I read an article posted by a friend, where the author of the post discusses why a mother should only talk to her child about her body on the technical issues and to tell her she’s healthy.  Granted, there were many good points in the article, such as how we women talk about ourselves and each other, affecting how our girls view themselves.  My main issue with the article is that each one of my four little girls will have friends, TV, and internet, among countless other venues including social media everywhere they turn.  I cannot fathom the damage I would have done to myself worth as a teen if I didn’t have a mom and friends to talk to.  From worrying about my “bubble butt” and hearing my friend call it a “Slammin’ backside” to talking to my mom about why cigarettes seemed so cool in the ads growing up and having her talk to me about long term–not so pretty–effects, it helped just as much as wishing my boobs were bigger and my tummy was flatter might have hindered.  I knew everyone else wanted that too.  It wasn’t just me.

Jealous Girls

Women compare ourselves to what we see.  I don’t know why we do, but I have yet to find another woman who doesn’t.  I want to be there to talk to my girls about what they are seeing and what that means for them.  With their own bodies, each one of my daughters have differences in appearance. Just between each other, and they notice.  All of them are beautiful, but different.  Kind of like chocolate. It can be shaped, colored, and proportioned differently and anyone with an ounce of honesty can say each one of these is desirable, purely based everyone’s love of the food in general.

Now, after listening, reading, watching and judging this past week, here’s my soap box rant.

Our bodies are what we make of them.  If you walk up to the most beautiful woman you can think of, she can rattle off ten things she’d change about her body if she could.  There isn’t any thing wrong with wanting to be more healthy or beautiful, but as with every other part of life, moderation is key.

My theory is that if we walk the walk and talk the talk of the kind of woman we want to be, we become that very thing.  Women who carry themselves with class and dignity, who treat themselves as if they are naturally beautiful …are.  We other women sense it, believe it and tell ourselves we aren’t that at all and simply wish we were.

Honestly,it wasn’t my cup of tea, but I don’t think Miley’s performance was that big of a deal.  I’m grateful that Miley’s performance is getting bad hype, though.  It gives me a chance to talk to my girls, who heard about it at school, about how we present ourselves and how having something to prove (like “I’m not a little girl anymore”) can back fire.  We can talk about how Miley is beautiful, but doesn’t always portray that.  My daughter noted she didn’t look like she felt good about herself.  I love that Kate Middleton looks great postpartum and I am so glad that she has the ability to feel the joys of motherhood.  I was able to talk to my girls, who heard it on the radio in the car, about how our bodies change many times in our life and every baby Kate has will add smile lines on her face, inches on her waist line and even if she doesn’t melt those inches off, she will still be stunning because of how she presents herself.

I talk to my kids about how working out to be healthy and have the energy to chase after your kids, or giving up a diet to really enjoy baking brownies with your little girl (or any other body altering thing), is a personal choice every mom has to make when trying to balance herself with her nurturing nature and other hats every woman puts on.  I talk to them about the wonderful women who never get married or who can’t have kids and it opens their minds to the many options and situations that are both a blessing and a curse, depending on the woman.  All of them have body issues.

We all want to be beautiful, to be complimented, to be graceful and charming.  We want to look like what our generation sees as beautiful.  It was something else many times and whether it is curves, or rail thin, or long legged, or plump, there are always other women wishing they felt like people looked at them the same way.

I worry that in our “You don’t need to diet, you’re perfect just the way you are”/”Eat healthy or you’ll get fat” society, it is confusing.  We need our mothers, sisters, aunts and friends to be there and talk about it.  In fact, there doesn’t seem to be a single womanhood issue that doesn’t have opposing opinions being shoved down our throats.  There are so many mixed signals we send each other:

Screenshot of Audrey Hepburn from the film Charade

Screenshot of Audrey Hepburn from the film Charade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stay at home/work and provide.

Keep a clean house to be a good mom/let it be messy if you love your kids more than cleaning.

Don’t judge looks/that girl should never wear skinny jeans.

Natural healthcare/Professional healthcare

Be YOU! … Just not like THAT.

Be Grace Kelly AND Marilyn Monroe AND June Cleaver… ready go!

Going back to the idea that our self worth and sexuality starts at a very young age, sends my mommy instincts a whirl, wondering what my girls are going to tell themselves.  But I really don’t have to wonder.  They have the best source for their own well being right here.  Me.  –no pressure right?  But for me, I feel that everyone can be like their ideal role models–or at least aspects of them and I want my girls to talk to me about it.  The way my husband and I address these issues will effect so many parts of their self esteem and sexuality growing up.  I want them to see the good things and recognize the bad for what they are.


What we should do is let our kids talk to us.  Ask our daughters what they see as appealing to them in their idols or role models.   Talk about why they feel that way.  It may surprise you that it is less her Prada or size 0 tag, or partying habits and more that she just seems… beautiful in general.  She has a quality… a confidence. So, ask if it is the way her idol looks, or if they want to feel like that celebrity or model must feel, being that confident or beautiful.  We can all feel confident and beautiful if we treat ourselves like we are, and act as if we are.

Marilyn Monroe

I am not built exactly like any woman I admire, but it doesn’t matter.  I have danced clumsily with my husband in the kitchen and felt like Grace Kelly.  I have had a meal baked, kids looking cute and had everything in place when my husband walked in and felt like June Cleaver… even though it was a little crispier than it should have been.   I’ve finally fit into that cute vintage dress and felt like Audrey Hepburn.  I’ve been on stage, looking great and felt like Marilyn Monroe.  But I’ve had pretty much ever insecurity a girl can have as well, and perhaps more frequently.

I believe we have these insecurities to be constantly trying to improve ourselves.  No, that’s not a bad thing.   If we stop growing, we lose out on so much.  It is why we are here, to get smarter and better and kinder and… well just insert the thing you desire of yourself: creative, strong, outgoing, or more quiet and reserved, etc.

Talk to your kids about what they see and think.  They’re smarter than we often give them credit for.

I want to note that I am not a perfect parent, and who knows what kinds of therapy my kids will need someday from my particular style, but I do know that I want my kids to be able to use what they see as a tool to feel better and strive to be better in a productive way.  Complaining forever more that society is evil won’t help them.  Admitting it is confusing and helping them figure out what works best for them might just work.


by | August 28, 2013 · 4:51 pm

Back to School Traditions


Backpack (Photo credit: CollegeDegrees360)

I really never thought about traditions being part of the back to school experience, but truth be told we have a few.  Most are pretty ordinary, but here goes:

1. Favorite outfit and a Fall photo shoot by mom.  There are rules to this tradition.  With this economy, it is just me, the kids, golden hour, and a camera.  The outfit(s) is clean, new-looking and displays a classy representation of their style.  Last year, my 9-year-old made a load of bracelets and belts by hand and we picked the ones out that went with her outfit.  It makes for an opportunity to bond over fashion even though I hate shopping.

2. Shopping. I do hate shopping… except for back to school shopping.  I love it–actually I’m kinda weird about it.  You might have seen me, snobbishly examining the price tags and occasionally sniffing new pencil packs euphorically.  My kids look at me like I’m an alien, but they come home thrilled and ready for the next tradition.

3. Packing the Backpack.  We reuse back packs here, but we do clean them up first.  In addition to the lists of supplies the school gives out, we also add rights of passage items.  My daughter hitting puberty soon has a secret emergency girly item bag I prepared with her, explaining what they are for and what to do when the time comes.  She also has a thin hoodie to tie around her waist if needed on the way to the phone.  The 3rd grader, has her usual hand sanitizer, but also chapstick this year in the form of cutsie lip gloss.  They all have Hand Sanitizer that hangs from their back pack at the ready.  For the child with Raynaud’s syndrom, there is always a pair of gloves, and extra Hotties for chilly mornings.

4. The talks. Every year, my husband and I go on one on one “dates” with our girls and do our best to help them feel confident and open to talking about nerves and social issues.  This year, bullying, what not to wear, making the right friends and boys are big topics.  We are LDS, so they also get a Father’s Blessing before school starts as well.

5. The Schedule, chore lists, and homework routines. This year’s is on the fridge already anticipating the beginning of the year for the girls and I.  The command centers have been reorganized, the clutter out of the bedrooms and chores when they come home from school are to take a whopping 5 min.  –I know right?  Well, it works.  I have a stack of their clothes to hang up and put away everyday.  They do that, tidy one bathroom a day together and spend 45 minutes on homework before dinner.  Before School starts, everything has to be tidied, or we all fall off the wagon.

6. Back to School breakfast. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just more than I normally do.  This year I made homemade Zucchini bread with bananas and chocolate chips added to the batter.

7. Walk to school. We are close enough, we can walk.  It always seems like a right of passage to me.  I go with the kids and make sure they know what to do.

8. Home lunch and a cheesy note. Self explanatory.

9. Pick up and a treat. We walk back home, and I have a fresh-baked treat.  (I know, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Meh, it’s the first day.)

10.  I go to bed earlier than I normally do.


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Harry Potter Knits – DIY Weasley Sweater

Harry Potter Knits -Weasley Sweater


It turns out, after all these years I still love children’s literature. Despite “growing up,” and transitioning into “adulthood” there is still something alluring and wonderful about children’s literature. I love the basic good vs evil, the wonderfully colorful descriptions of fantastical worlds and of course the fact that in the end good triumphs! So, naturally when the Harry Potter series hit the shelves I was almost instantly hooked. In addition to loving the characters and stories I love all the little details J.K. Rowling adds in that make the worlds and characters come to life. One of my favorite characters is Mrs. Weasley. I love her unfailing love for her family (those biological as well as those adopted in) and of course her wonderful knits! After reading the books and watching the films I knew I needed to attempt a few of these fantastic crafts myself. The number one item on my list to make…a Weasley sweater. Shortly before my eldest sister had her first baby I learned to knit. I was so excited that I wanted to make everything…but unfortunately I wasn’t exactly a master after only a week. However, with a little practice and a lot of fun I did finally manage to make a weasley sweater for my niece! I mapped out the design for her initial (the A) on the front and then set to figuring out how I could do an entire sweater using magic loop. Truthfully, I didn’t follow a pattern I simply applied basic principles of knitting 101…but I think it nonetheless came out great! The only problem is…now I want to make more. So it seems I may need to figure out a pattern…because I am very happy with my Weasley sweater!


(AB modeling her new sweater on our recent visit. It fits!)

I look forward to making more crafts and costumes from my favorite books! I hope this has inspired you to dust off the craft box and get to work on your own little piece of fun!

If you like Harry Potter knits like I do here are a few patterns I found on! I haven’t had a chance to try them yet…but I think I just might need to try them soon!

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Filed under Budget, Children, Crafts and Gifts, DIY, Family, Fiction

DIY : Baby Superhero Cape

How To: Make a Superhero Cape for a Onesie

I love sewing and working on special little projects for friends and family; so when I received a baby shower invitation from a friend I pulled out the sewing machines! My friends John and Jane (we shall call them for this post) are big comicon fans and love all of the new superhero movies so much that I knew almost immediately what I wanted to make for them….baby superhero onesies! Then as luck would have it, while I was looking for plain blue and red onesies, I found actual superhero embossed onsies and so all that was needed was the cape. Below are instructions on my latest baby shower gift. I am very pleased with how they turned out!

Step 1: Find onesie and fabric for cape (I couldn’t find the right shade of red in the fabric department so I decided to check out the T-shirts in the little kids section…vowalla cape material!) Create cape pattern (I like to cut my patterns out of old newspapers before cutting the actual fabric. This allows me to make adjustments as needed without loosing fabric and money!)


Step 2: Cut out cape pattern. Because I was using a T-shirt I lined up the bottom of the cape with the bottom hem of the shirt. The ending result is one less hem to sew and a nice clean finished look to the bottom of my cape!


Step 3: Break out your handy dandy sewing machines! (If you don’t sew or don’t have sewing machines you could do this project “no sew” by using fabric glue for the seams and self adhesive Velcro to attach the cape to the neckline of the onesie)


Step 4: Create a zig-zag stitch on the three unfinished (rough) sides to prevent fraying or curling of the T-shirt material. I used my Surger machine (I love this thing!!!)


Step 5: Roll your hems and pin in place. Sew a straight line hem on each side and across the top creating a finished look.


Step 6: With all three sides now hemmed attach your cape to the neckline of your onesie. I attached just below the original hem because I liked how the blue over the top of the red looked. You can also attach right to the top of the onesie if you prefer. Use a straight stitch to attach. (Or if you want the cape to be removable use Velcro or snaps to attach the cape to the shoulders.)


Step 7: Step back and admire your crazy adorable baby superhero outfit! Then wrap it up and happily gift this really fun item! Or if you are making them for your own little superheroes enjoy watching them zoom around the room in their new capes!


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Filed under Budget, Children, Crafts and Gifts, DIY, Education, Family, Motherhood

Free Printable: Weekday Schedule

Free Printable: Weekday Schedule

Print off, place in a picture frame, and use a dry erase marker to personalize it.

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by | August 17, 2013 · 4:09 pm

Our First Digi Kit Freebie

Our First Digi Kit Freebie

Click on the photo to download the kit, and if you like it, let us know. I might attempt another, bigger kit.


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by | August 5, 2013 · 3:52 am

Brooke vs Blog: a Guest Post

Welcome, Brooke of!  Your blog is adorable… and so is this free Printable on her BLOG!  

Here’s a bit about Brooke, by Brooke:


Hi, I’m Brooke. I’m married to an awesome man we have one son and three daughters, ages 8, 5, 2, and 6 months. I like being a mom. Usually. My kids are cute, I have a good husband, I feel fulfilled in my life. But some days are just plain hard and make me want to cry.

The thing is, I don’t like to cry. It makes my face all splotchy and gives me a headache. I would much rather laugh. And really, I have a lot to laugh about. I have complete strangers remind me daily just how hilarious my kids are. But I get caught up in the dishes and the laundry and the wiping of noses and bums and the seemingly endless fighting. And I need reminding of all that’s good and funny in my life.

So I blog about it.

I blog about the time my five year old, all dolled up for a dance recital, ran off to inspect herself in the mirror and proclaimed, “Oh wow! I’m lovely!! I could look at myself like this for weeks!”

I blog about my eight year old and the one time he broke down crying in the car about his pet fish Goldie that died months beforehand. Saying, “Mom, do pets go to Heaven? I sure hope they do because I just miss Goldie SO much, Mom. My heart is just broken….he was like a son to me!”.

I blog about my two year old and the fact that she says no to EVERYTHING. And the fact that we are keeping track of those things. So when she’s a teenager one day and starts begging for money and parties, we can pull out the videos of her saying “NO MONEY!!” and “NO PARTY!” And we will get to laugh all over again.

I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until the six month old joins the party and I can blog about her too.

I blog because I want to share these funny, touching, and inspiring moments with my friends and family. I blog because I want to have a record of these parts of their childhood. Because they are growing right before my eyes and in quiet moments I can already feel an ache for them to stay little forever. I know that ache will only intensify as they continue to get bigger, and I’ll need something to remind me what these crazy, not so quiet, times were like.

Hopefully we will all remember that some times were tough, most times were good, and that we found reason to laugh all along the way.

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Guest post and a Free Printable Link!

Our good friend and creative Diva, Brooke, has started a blog to share her art and her cute stories about her kiddos.  Go give “Hers and Hims” a like and nab the freebie or Pin it so she’ll do more!

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by | August 2, 2013 · 5:56 am

The System

A new short film trailer.  Take a look, what do you think? Would you watch it?

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by | August 2, 2013 · 3:16 am

5 Days in Italy – Day 5

Day 2 Florence

Today with snacks in hand from the market you head across the river to the Pitti Palace for more relics and art. This great palace has been home to many of Florence’s great families and still boasts a beautiful and well maintained façade!

After the Pitti Palace head west to see Piazza Santo Spirito before heading back over the river toward the pig market otherwise known as Mercato Nuovo. Locals call this market Il Porcellino (little pig) because of the boar statue that stands at the end of the market. This market, like San Lorenzo Market is frequented by both locals and tourists alike and offers leather goods, jewelry, scarves, souvenirs and more. Take a gander about and start to consider how much room you have in your suitcase and whether you may need to buy an extra! 

As promised I am taking it easy on you in Florence. I have hit the top ten attractions in Florence and then some so now…shop! Shop until you can carry no more! Shop at the pig market, San Lorenzo Market, Santa Croce, the Ponte Vecchio and Mercato Centrale. For great shoes check out the shops at the east end of San Lorenzo Market and piazza! Some of the best places are in basements and around small alley corners. Never fear, just venture in – the shop owners are always happy to great and help tourists and locals alike!

Once you have shopped ‘til you dropped – if you have extra time you can always go back and explore some of the bigger attractions you feel you may have been rushed through before!

Food in Florence – This is the best food in Italy I swear!!! I prescribe gelato twice daily at minimum for positive mood enhancement and sugary sweet energy!

One restaurant (Il trattoria) in particular is off of Piazza della Signoria and near the Ponte Vecchio. On your way to the Ponte Vecchio find the B&B della Signoria (one street in), go down that street/alley (it will seem like nothing is there- keep going) you will see the small trattoria. Make reservations around lunch for dinner (or you won’t get in) this is the best restaurant and has amazing ravioli di noci! 

Okay – off you go, have entirely too much fun!

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Filed under Education, Family, Travel