Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gingerbread House

This week we attempted to make a Gingerbread House, but unfortunately the roof caved in on us, so we just decorated 2-dimensional houses. Maybe next year we'll try again, or maybe we'll do what we did last year and just decorate sugar cookies to look like Gingerbread Houses and Gingerbread People!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pin the Nose?

This week we celebrated Gavin's 2nd birthday! At playgroup I got out our birthday clown (that I made for Kaleb & Noe's 5th birthday) for the kids to play with. There are 10 different colored noses to "pin" on him. Since Gavin and his gang are 2, I didn't blind-fold or spin them, I just let them "decorate" the clown however they wanted. They did get one nose in the right spot, and then put the rest all over his face like colored chicken pox. It was fun!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


After my kids saw the Santa frame I made for the craft exchange last week, they wanted me to make one for us- so that's what I did this week. You can see that this Santa is a bit bigger though. Last week, I shrunk the pattern down to an 6 x 8 size, so it would all fit in the 5 x 7 frame. This week, I forgot to do that and made it full-size. Luckily, with a little shifting around it still fit in the frame. I originally painted the frame red, and in green & yellow painted "Be Merry" with polka dots on it. I wasn't crazy about the finished product, so I re-painted it solid green.

I made this Easter frame for an Enrichment class I taught in 2007. I also made the goal to make a new holiday frame for each month. Now I have 2 down, and 10 to go!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Craft Exchange

My friend, Julie hosted a fun Ladies Night on Wednesday. We each brought a homemade craft and then had a little exchange. As we came in we put a number on our gift and then a matching number in a bowl. We took turns drawing numbers out of the bowl, and then we got the corresponding gift.

I made the Santa frame that my friend, Leone took home.

I took home these beautiful wise men that my friend, Chiu-yi made.

At the party we also made these cute little sheepy ornaments. It will be fun to make more with the kids!

She also made us a yummy dinner. She served 3 delicious soups with fresh bread. I can't forget the appetizers though, cruncy veggies & dip, and my favorite- 7 layer bean dip with tortilla chips. She also sent us home with a plate full of goodies. I adore homemade cookies and candy! It was a great night spent with friends: Julie, Leone, Chiu-yi, Rachelle, Amanda, Carrie, Wanda, Lori, Mary, Kay, Nicole, and me!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

10, 11, 12

I finally finished the last 3 months' worth of puppy pages. I hope Gavin likes his album. I want to add more to it eventually, but at least he has his first 12 months. It's done just in time for his 2nd birthday!

I hope this little guy knows how much he is loved!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Here's Gavin's pages for months 7,8, and 9. You can see that puppy is not with him for month 7, but we were on vacation and puppy didn't make the trek with us overseas. Hopefully next week I'll finish the last 3 lay-outs and have his first year all ready to give him for his second birthday. However, with Thanksgiving this week followed by the official kick off to the Christmas season I have a lot to do!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Here's Gavin's Puppy Picture Pages for months 4, 5, & 6. I think I did them too simply this time. I didn't double mat the pictures, or add any borders, or pattern papers. I think I relied to heavily on the cute little accents. Even though I still don't feel great, and I want to get these pages done in a hurry, I still want to do a good job so Gavin will want to keep this book forever. Hopefully next week's pages will turn out better, and hopefully Gavin will like them all anyway.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Puppy Pictures

When I was pregnant with Kaleb & Noe, my visiting teacher gave me this stuffed puppy dog. Each month of their first year I took a picture of them with it to chart their growth. After Gavin was born, I had to do the same for him. Well, now he'll be 2 next month, and baby #4 is already on the way. I really need to finish his baby book. Here's the 1st 3 months:

I worked at a Scrapbook store 7-8 years ago, and during that time I collected A LOT of scrapping supplies. I know they're old school now, but I think they're fine for a baby book. Plus, the way I'm feeling these days- simple is way better! I know the pics of the pages aren't the best quality, but I can't be bothered to scan them in now- sorry. Hopefully, I'll get the next 9 lay-outs done soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Boo to You!

I just wanted to wish you a Happy Halloween! Last weekend we watched "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" to get us all in the Halloween spirit. Yesterday, Gavin had his Halloween party at Kindermusik, and today Kaleb & Noe have their parties at school. Tonight is our annual ward Halloween party and trunk-or-treating. Hopefully, next year I'll make some cute Halloween crafts too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I seriously have felt miserable for 5+ weeks now. I'm almost to the end of my first trimester and I really hope the nausea passes. Unfortunately, it didn't with my other 2 pregnancies, but here's hoping. I have lots of projects I should be working on, but who feels like being crafty when you're sick?

Anyway, this week I will be teaching the Relief Society lesson based on Elder Oaks' talk "Testimony" from the April 2008 General Conference. I made up 10 different real-life scenarios where the sisters can share what they'd say to others about different topics relating to the gospel, such as: keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, Joseph Smith, the Word of Wisdom, the Atonement, the Proclamation on the Family, Happiness & Gratitude, Tithing, Modern-Day Prophets & Revelation, Temples & Eternal Families, and Faith & Prayer. I'm also going to challenge them to write their personal testimonies in their journals. To follow my own advice I want to record my own personal testimony here.

I know that Heavenly Father lives. I know that I am His child, He loves me, and has a plan for me. I know if I am faithful and obedient I can return to live with him someday.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and has atoned for my sins. I stand in awe of this, that He would love me enough that he would suffer and die for all of the horrible things I've done and will do in my life. I am humbled by this and want to do better each day. I know He is the only way I can return to live with my Heavenly Father someday.

I know that I have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost. I know if I am worthy His spirit can be my constant companion to guide me and protect me.

I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and restored the fullness of the gospel to the earth.

I know that President Thomas S. Monson is the true and living prophet of God today.

I know families can be together for eternity. I know that the Temples are the houses of the Lord where the sacred ordinances are performed for that.

I know my life has purpose, and I have a mission to accomplish. I know I am only one person, and I am far from perfect, but I can do my part in building the Kingdom of God on the earth.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I have a Shrimp!

Today I had my first appointment with Dr. Ling. It's always so exciting to have an ultrasound and see the little miracle I'm carrying and to hear its heartbeat. When she first zoomed in on the baby, she said "there it is, your little shrimp!" It's amazing that the baby is only 3 cm long and weighs only 4 gm, but look at how developed it already is! I am thrilled to be having another little one, but I have felt sick 24/7 for the past 4 weeks straight. Since I've felt so sick I haven't been doing anything "creative" lately. Hopefully next week I can get a project done.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Interview with Mommy

This week I've been playing catch up on my other blog. I saw this little interview on my friend, Chris' blog and decided to do it with my kids.

Part I

What is something mom always says to you?
Kaleb: I love you.
Noe: Put away your clothes.
Gavin (as interpreted by daddy): You are so cute.
What makes mom happy?
When I behave.
Giving her hugs.
When I smile at her.
What makes mom sad?
When I don't behave.
When Kaleb & I fight.
When my brother & sister fight.
How does mom make you laugh?
By tickling me.
By tickling me.
When she tickles me.
What was mom like as a kid?
I don't know.
I don't know.
She's always been mommy.
How old is mom?
Just right.
How tall is mom?
Bigger than me, but smaller than daddy.
What is mom's favorite thing to do?
Spend time with me.
To look at flowers.
Give me hugs and kisses.
What does mom do when you're not home?
Do laundry.
Cry and scream and stomp her feet (followed by laughter).
Mom's never home without me.
If mom were famous, what would she be famous for?
Taking pictures.
What is mom really good at?
Giving hugs and kisses.
Typing on the computer.
Taking care of me.
What does mom do for her job?
Feed Gavin.
She takes care of me and our family.
What is mom's favorite food?
Orange Yogurt with jellies.
What makes you proud of your mom?
When she comes to school and sees me at lunchtime.
She tickles me.
That she spends so much time with me.
If mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Kim Possible.
What do you and mom like to do together?
Read stories.
Dance at Kindermusik.
How are you and mom the same?
We both know how to read.
We both like to listen to music.
We both like making people happy.
How are you and mom different?
I'm a boy and she's a girl.
I like to eat spaghetti all the time.
She can speak English.
How do you know mom loves you?
Because she gives me hugs and kisses.
By giving me kisses and hugs.
She does everything for me.

I was belly-laughing at their answers, I've got some funny kids!

Part II

What time do your kids wake up?
6:00 for school, 6:30 on weekends, sometimes Gavin can sleep until 7:30.
On a good night, what time do your kids go to sleep?
8:00 for Kaleb and Noe, 9:00 for Gavin.
How long have you been a mom?
6 years.
How old were you when you became a mom?
What is your favorite kid's show?
Phineas and Ferb.
What is your least favorite kid's show?
Dora the Explorer.
Favorite meal to cook?
My darling husband cooks dinner most nights, but I want to start cooking more (after the pregnancy nausea passes).
What's the meal cooked most often?
What is the kids' favorite meal?
According to Noe, spaghetti.
What are your favorite things that your husband does with your kids?
When he plays games with them, takes them on outings, gets Gavin to sleep at night.
What are 5 things that make you smile while being a mom?
When my kids tell me they love me.
When I see them at school trying new things.
When they laugh.
When they give me big hugs and kiss my whole face.
When they are sleeping at night.
Where do you want to take your kids some day?
When was the last time you and your husband did something without the kids?
In June, when we went to the Newport Temple.
One thing you said you'd never do as a mom?
Yell at my kids. I'm still struggling with my temper.
Favorite past time with your kids?
I love reading with them, listening to music and dancing with them, playing games with them.
Advice for a new mom.
Savor every minute, the time goes fast.
When was the last time your kids said "I love you"?
Last night when they went to bed.

**If you have read this, consider yourself tagged. If you complete this interview on your blog, please leave a comment, so I can make sure I read it!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Playing Tour Guide

This week Mom & Papa got to hang out with us in Taiwan and it was Kristopher's last week with us. Typhoon JangMi kept us in at the beginning of the week, but we were able to see some sites at the end of the week. While Len was at work, Kaleb & Noe were at school, Gavin & I played tour guides. We took them to the Taipei 101 building, to Len's office and out for some local Chinese food for lunch, to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, to our mini-Temple Square (our church building is right next door to the Taipei Temple), and one evening Len took them to the ShihLin Night Market. I love having family in town!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


We had a wonderful time in Phuket, Thailand this week. We got to see elephants on 4 different occassions! This little elephant made out of towels, was the centerpiece on our dining room table. I thought he was cute! Now I want to learn towel origami.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Got Quotes?

My sister-in-law, Janalyn has a vinyl business (see Stuck-On Vinyl Decor on side links). Last year she made this quote for me. It only took me a year to get a tile and easel for it to finish it, but better late than never, right? It sits above our linen cupboard and I think it adds a nice touch.

In case you can't read it it says, "May our Home always be a haven of Strength & Love to all those who gather here- our Family, Neighbors, and Friends." Thanks Janalyn, I love it!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Place for Everything, and Everything in its Place!

I am an organized person by nature. You could say I even have OCD tendencies. However, since I've become a mother I've slowly had to just let some things go for my sanity's sake. So, instead of re-organizing the toys, books, clothes, etc. every day I go through the whole house once a year. And I mean the WHOLE house- every drawer, cupboard, shelf, cabinet, closet, toy bin, dresser, bookcase, nightstand, basket, file cabinet, you get the picture, and our car. Well, last year came and went and I never did my huge dejunking. Having active Gavin with me all day long, and having Kaleb's sports every single Saturday, it just kept being put on the backburner. This week I decided it was high time to get things ship-shape (maybe because my parents are coming next week?). Anyway, I worked hard this week and went through every room, except the office (as it is also our guest room where Kris is staying, so I will do it after my family leaves). I was able to get rid of 25 bags of stuff!!! Most of it was clothes we had outgrown that we donated to a children's orphanage. There were also a lot of toys that I bagged up and put in our storage room until the school's yearly flea market rolls around. I wish I could take it all down to a thrift store now and be rid of it, but those don't exist in this country. I can't bring myself to throw it all away though, as the flea market does raise money for the PTA which then buys cool things for the school that my kids get to use. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from me, it feels great! Now if I can just keep up on everything a little better this year, hopefully next year our closets, etc. won't be bursting at the seams again.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A bit of Whimsy

I want our future home to have something whimsical in every room. For example, a statue of a small harlequin dressed clown in the living room or a colorful rooster in the kitchen. I also want something homemade in each room. After all that's what makes a house a home right?

4 years ago we moved from our apartment to our townhouse in Canada. The twins were moving from cribs to beds, and from sharing a room to having their own. I wanted to make each of their rooms special so I painted them each a picture. These pictures combine my love of whimsy with my love for homemade.

Kaleb loves all things transportation, so I painted him this airplane.

Noe loves all things pink, so I painted her these flowers.

When we move again, I want to re-do all of our bedrooms. I would like to change Noe's room from pink, lavender, and light green to pink, black, and white. I sketched this picture that I want to paint for her new room. I love sketching first, because I already want to make some changes. I want all of the flower centers to be black with white swirls. I'm also not sure if I want to raise the center flower to make a more distinct triangle between the 3, or if I want to line them all up right in the middle. Now I have to think of a new theme for the boys' room!

Isn't this pillow adorable? I think it would be so cute in Noe's room!

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Artful Potter

Mom was the hostess for Barlow Ladies Night this month and suggested we go to the Artful Potter to paint ceramics. Unfortunately, she ended up having to show houses and couldn't make it, but the rest of us had fun. I shared a table with the creative Mandy and Lynn.

Aunt Connie, Rachel, and Aunt Debbi were very creative too.

Here's my project ready to get glazed and go in the kiln.

Here's the finished project. I think I'm going to hang it in our future play room, and then take it down to be the special birthday cake plate. However, with having twins I'll have to paint another one. Lucky me!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lacey's Oreo Truffles

My sister-in-law Lacey made the best dessert while we were in Idaho- Oreo Truffles! I wanted to preserve the recipe here so I can make them again and again.

one package Oreo cookies
one package cream cheese
one package milk chocolate chips
one package white chocolate chips
food coloring paste (optional)

Crush oreo's in the blender until they are the consistency of coffee grinds. Mix oreo crumbs with package of softened cream cheese until it is the texture of cookie dough. Form into teaspoon-sized balls and drop onto cookie sheet. Chill in fridge/freezer while you melt the chocolate. Melt a small bowl-full of chocolate chips in the microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stir, and repeat until completely melted. Dip chilled balls in chocolate and return to cookie sheet. For optional decorating, you can mix food coloring paste in with the melted white chocolate chips, and drizzle over the truffles. Once the whole batch is dipped, chill in fridge until ready to serve. Trust me, they are delish!

*I started thinking of some other flavor combos: peanut butter oreos with peanut butter chips or mint oreos with mint chocolate chips, yum yum!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Summer Crafty

So we are back in Taiwan and hopefully I'll have a new craft to post about next week. This summer I was able to do one craft, I painted a plate at The Artful Potter (will show pictures soon). I also got an awesome recipe from my sister-in-law Lacey (will share too), my husband made me an amazing photo DVD for my birthday, and my kids colored and drew lots and lots and lots too. I bought some fun beads that I'm just itching to string together, and I read lots of books. I was also inspired by the cakes Ms. Cakes made for my sister's bridal shower and wedding reception. Living Art Digital also took some fantastic pictures. I just love creative stuff!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Summer Citrus Salsa

My friend Lori made this delicious salsa! She shared the recipe with me, and I wanted to share it here.
1 pineapple
2-3 oranges
3 green onions
3 green chile peppers
1 bunch cilantro
Dice everything small
Serving Suggestions:
Tortilla Chips
Roasted Pork Loin
We're off today for our summer adventures. I hope you all have a wonderful summer, and I'll be back here on August 15th!

Grandchildren Garden

Last year for Mother's & Father's Day I made scrapbooks for each of my sets of parents with all of their grandchildren's baby pictures. I also made the promise that I would update the books each year of all of our new additions. I kept the pages simple, because there are 4 Lee grandkids, & 7 Pittl grandkids. I'm also planning on doing "Cousins" scrapbooks for our family with all of the Lee, Pittl, and the 13 Reil grandkids too. This past year sweet baby Keegan was born, so now he'll have his own page in the grandchildren book.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bye-Bye Books

Every year at our Ward Closing Social, each family brings a photo and a letter to give to each family that is moving to put in their bye-bye books. So this week, I've been getting ready for the Social this Saturday. I've said this on my other blog, but the saddest part about an ex-pat's life is saying goodbye to friends each year. However, we have met many amazing families that I hope we will be able to keep in touch with through the years.

Here's the picture I used for last year's books.

Here's the picture I used for the 2006 books.

*Next year when we move, I want a bye-bye book too! However, I want pictures from the families currently in our ward, plus all those that we've known from all of our years here.
**This Saturday will be party palooza! The kids are going to a birthday party for 2 friends from school in the morning. Our Ward Closing Social is in the afternoon. In the evening we're going to Len's work farewell barbeque too.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Summer Lovin'

I didn't do anything crafty this week. I was frantically trying to finalize airplane tickets, hotels, rental cars, and elephant excursions before we leave on vacation in 2 weeks. We are going to the States to visit California for our Reil family reunion, Idaho for our Pittl family reunion, Nevada for our Lee family reunion and my sister Erika's wedding reception. We've also planned a little Asian exploration. We're going to Phuket, Thailand to lounge on the beach, relax, and go for a little elephant ride through the jungle. I *HEART* summer!!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mint Brownies

Today was my last Activity Day. I've been the leader for the past 2 1/2 years and have worked with 18 different youth and some of their friends. During this time I was also the Sunbeam teacher for a year, and the Valiant 9-12 teacher. However, last month I was called to be a teacher in the Relief Society so my time in the Primary is over for a season. I have really enjoyed getting to know the kids and helping them complete their goals in their Faith in God books.
After being rained out for 2 years we were actually able to have a pool party today! I also made some yummy mint brownies. I had planned on making them for St. Patrick's Day, but the holiday came and went and it never happened. I thought today would be a good reason to finally make them. I'm not a "from scratch" chef yet, but I still thought I'd share my little twist on boxed brownies.
I used the Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie mix (which also needs 1/3 C water, 1/3 C oil, and 1 egg). For the frosting I used a tub of Duncan Hines Creamy Style Classic Vanilla. I added 1/2 t mint extract and about 25 drops of green food coloring. They were a hit and I think I need to turn them into a St. Patrick's Day tradition!

Graduation Gift

When each of my Smith siblings graduated I made them a huge picture frame filled with 4 of their Senior pictures decorated all cutesy-scrapbook style. As each of my Lee siblings has graduated I made them a mini-scrapbook of all of their school pictures. My baby brother, Kristopher is the last one and he graduates next month (I just can't believe it, I watched him be born when I was 14). Anyway, this week I've been working on his scrapbook. The pages are very simple, but hopefully he will like it nonetheless!

The front and back cover pages.

His toddler and pre-school pictures.

Elementary School days.

Middle School days.

Basketball teams.

*I still need to make 3 more lay-outs- High School, Cap & Gown, and School Dances. However, I'll have to make those when I'm home and I finally get the rest of the pictures for them.
**Sorry my pictures of the pages are grainy again, but I think they're easier to see than the ones with the flash glare. Someday I will take a photography class!