Friday, November 13, 2015

a spoonful of sugar

These are my favorites of what I'm listening to this week.  Put them on while you're cleaning or driving around this weekend!  They're so good.

"Somebody Loves You" - Betty Who

"Sort Of" - Ingrid Michaelson

"When We Were Young" - Lucy Schwartz

"Little Dancer" - Leroy Sanchez


Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.  Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


No, she's not a child.

She is, in fact, a bed.

So, Joel and I have been wanting a new mattress for a long time.  Ours had a HUGE dip in the middle, and we've both been waking up sore for at least a year.  We went mattress shopping a few times, but it's so hard!  They all were good, better than what we had, but not "perfect enough."  We weren't willing to commit to any of them.  I don't remember why, but one day, I started looking online and discovered that buying mattresses online is a thing.  What?!  I read about it for hours - how to buy a bed without trying it first, return policies, reviews of certain mattresses... and what started as, "Haha, wouldn't that be hilarious and weird if we bought a bed online?" became, "Alright, shall we do it?"

Here's what we learned:
Buying a mattress online can be less expensive because there's no middle man.
Most online mattress companies have 1-3 firmness levels, making it easier because you don't have to test a million beds, but a little scarier, too, if you like to try out the mattress first.
All online mattress companies I read about produce a pretty firm mattress - what's "average,"  or about 6-7 on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the cushiest.
Every company I researched had a 90-101 night return policy - if you don't like it, you can return it for a full refund.  They all have a free pick-up policy.  One company's policy was to pick it up and then donate it to a shelter.  (No restocking fee because they never restock a mattress.)

Ours is pretty foamy, as opposed to having coils.  It came in this box: 

It weighed 96 pounds.  Never have I been so excited to see a package on our front porch!  And never have I been so disappointed to hear the "you have a package" knock on the door that came two days earlier...

The mattress was vacuum-sealed in the box, so the instructions were that we position the box where we wanted the bed to end up, open it on its side, pull out the mattress, and cut the plastic enveloping it.  Then we just watched!  Five minutes later, we had this: 

a beautiful, super soft (to the touch), firm mattress...


I never would've thought I'd enjoy a firm mattress, but man.  It's so nice.  We love it.  We budgeted for the possibility of buying a $100 mattress topper if we hated the firmness, but we didn't have to.  This particular mattress has a thin layer of soft foam on top of firm foam, so it feels cushy but firm... if that makes any sense.  We're still far away from our 100th night, but I can't imagine our opinion changing.  Would we buy a mattress online again?  Definitely.  Would we buy a Leesa again?  Also yes.  If you need a new mattress and want to lay on ours to see what Internet beds are like (and if I'm friends with you in real life...), let me know!  


In life, the hardest decisions often have to be made more than once.  But each time, it gets easier.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Airheads FHE

I'm a member of a website called Smiley360 that gives free samples in return for reviews.  This last week, I got a box of Airheads and was asked to make something out of them and then show off what I made, so... 


I made a tribute to Harry Potter.

I'll be honest, I'm not the world's biggest fan of the taste + texture of Airheads.  (Except their new rainbow strips, Airheads Extremes.  They're really good.)  I do like, though, that they're pretty allergy-free.  (They don't have gluten or peanuts.)  We don't have a lot of allergies in our family, but I appreciate companies that make foods that are more universally accessible.  As a teacher, it was hard sometimes to find treats that all of my 600 students could eat.  

This was, by the way, a really fun Family Home Evening activity / treat!  All of us had a blast.  The Airheads were pretty easy to mold with, and they come in really fun colors.  Kind of like sculpting with edible, stiffish clay.  The kids didn't compare their creations to ours, either (which they do with stuff like carving pumpkins), because if they were disappointed with how something was turning out, they'd fix it, change it into something else, or eat ate it.  

Also, because I'm supposed to include step-by-step instructions on how to make what I made, imagine these instructions set to the "tune" of a BopIt game:
1. Roll it!
2. Slice it!
3. Cut it with a roller!
4. Mold it!
(musical interlude)

If you're interested in checking out Smiley360, click here!

1 - Little Boy's polar bear face
2 - Little Boy's dumbbells
3 - Little Boy's letter A with buttons
4 - Little Girl's train / ice cream cones / lollipops/ ...
5 - Joel's scenic hill


Let no one ever say that a poor tailor cannot do great things and win high honors; all that is needed is that he should go to the right smithy, and what is of most consequence, that he should have good luck.
"The Glass Coffin"
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales

Friday, October 30, 2015

music mania!

I saw a comic once illustrating the idea that there's so much music you'll never hear that you would've loved.  I looked everywhere and tried to remember where I saw it, but was unsuccessful.  It looked something like this:  

I'd never thought about that before!  That idea has been stuck in my head lately so I've been on the lookout for new music instead of just depending on the radio or Pandora.  And guess what!  Some of it is really good.  So if you, like me, are interested in hearing new stuff, you should check these out!   Put them on while you're cleaning the bathroom or driving home from work!  They're my favorites this week.  

"Waiting Outside the Lines" - Greyson Chance

"Oh, Darling" - Plug In Stereo

"Brave" - Moriah Peters

"No Matter Where You Are" - Us The Duo


At last, only the Weasley twins were left singing along to a very slow funeral march.  Dumbledore conducted their last few lines with his wand, and when they had finished, he was one of those who clapped loudest.  
"Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes.  "A magic beyond all we do here!"
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

evolving faith: one year

*Note: This is written about all our foster kids - past, present, and future.  It's not referencing any particular event or case, but is rather a culmination of thoughts I've had during the last year.  

When I encouraged you to ask your questions about foster care a couple months ago, one of you asked what we've learned and what has surprised us since we started.  I answered all the questions then, but these two stayed in my mind because I knew I hadn't learned all I would.  One thing I've been thinking about a lot lately is how my faith has evolved.

We've been licensed for about a year.  In that time, we've had four children.  For the first... nine months or so, I had faith in the legal system.  I prayed that the best thing for our kids would be done, and then I had faith that the attorneys, judge, etc., would be inspired.  Sometimes mistakes happen, but I really trusted the professionals working on our cases and had faith in them.  When I told a friend once that I believed the best thing would happen, she said, "You must have a lot more faith in the legal system than I do."  As I thought about her comment, I passionately agreed.  Of course I do!  I have to.  Because if I don't, all I will feel about the future is fear.  Having faith in those involved was the only choice I could see.

During the tenth month, my faith changed.  In fact, I was talking to Joel about it one night and said, "I still have faith that Heavenly Father can prompt people to do the right thing, but I don't necessarily believe they'll listen."  I went to bed that night and prayed that, as I read my scriptures, Heavenly Father would lead me to a verse that would restore my hope.

And then I read 1 Nephi 9:6 - "The Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fullfilling of all his words.  And thus it is.  Amen."  

Heavenly Father knows the past, present, and future.  He's not surprised by anything.  He is all-powerful and knows how to make sure the best things happen.  People's choices don't trip him up - He already knows.  He has a plan.  That's just how it is.

That being said,

Sometimes the best things don't happen while we're on earth.  He knows that, too.  And therein lies the evolution of my faith.  I still believe the parents and professionals involved in our cases are good people.  I still believe they want what's best for the kids.  But I no longer rest my hope and faith on them.  I feel peace, knowing that the best thing will happen to my kids.  In this life?  Maybe.  But as part of the bigger picture, definitely.  The Atonement makes everything right.


Certainly people who were only born yesterday know very little.
"The Snow Man"
Hans Christian Andersen

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Tale of Two Pinterest Projects

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

The best: 

We were having trouble with the kids getting up as soon as they woke up, even if they woke up much earlier than normal, so we decided to try this out.  The hope was that they would still let themselves get rest even if they were awake early, and it's totally worked!  Red = Stay in bed.  Yellow = You can get out of bed, but you have to stay in your room quiet.  Green = Feel free to play outside of your room.  White = Breakfast time, if it hasn't already happened / Wake us up, if we're not already up.

The worst: 
There's a recipe out there that calls for 1/2 - 1 bar of grated soap, one tablespoon of hot water, and food coloring.  Mix them all together, press the soap into a cookie cutter, freeze it (to set it), and voila!  You have a homemade bath crayon!

Each kid made one.  In both cases, the crayon started falling apart with the first line "drawn" - and it didn't actually draw anything, unless you count leaving behind colored chunks of soap.  Maybe I used too cheap of soap?  These are the remains of his after one bath (most of which time was spent sitting in the soap dish):

It started as a gingerbread man.
The moral:
It can be fun to try out Pinterest ideas, even if they don't work out.  But be prepared for them not to work out, just in case.  :)


There is always a reason that people do things a certain way.
Jennifer Riding

Friday, August 28, 2015

how to believe in Santa Claus

I just found out Christmas in July exists on the Hallmark channel, and I'm really sad I missed it.
I love Hallmark Christmas movies!  They're romantic comedies minus the one scene, plus Christmas!  They're so fun to watch (and make fun of).  Every Christmas, Dish lets us have the Hallmark channel for a month, so I record as many as I can and watch them throughout the year.  Now that I've just about finished watching all the ones on our DVR, I've decided to share with you...

14 Things I've Learned from Hallmark Christmas Movies

1. If a man grows up to look like Santa Claus, he can get a job at Hallmark or Lifetime.
2. "Washed up" seems too harsh a phrase... but all washed up actors/actresses can also get jobs at Hallmark or Lifetime.
3. Up also shows Christmas movies.  They're not as good.  
4. All kids with a divorced or dead parent just want their remaining parent to be happy.  They will be happy with almost anyone you choose to marry.
5. If you go on vacation and like it there, the best choice is to quit your job (or get fired) and get a new one in your vacation city at a corner store.
6. Corner stores can be saved from bankruptcy by creating an online presence.  This success will most likely come overnight.
7. Progress is bad.
8. Business people are workaholics and evil.  Most of them grew up not celebrating Christmas because their parents were also workaholics.  None of them believe in Santa (or the Spirit of Christmas).  
9. Small-town people are wonderful and have good priorities.  They grew up celebrating every single aspect of Christmas.  All of them believe in Santa (or the Spirit of Christmas).  
10. (Except for the one person in the small town who didn't get what s/he asked Santa for - a dead parent to come back to life, or a boyfriend - when they were six)
11. It only takes between two hours and two days to fall in love.
12. Love often starts as hate.
13. People who were friend-zoned in high school usually wait twenty years to get married... to the person who friend-zoned them!  Sometimes it takes that long to realize you loved your high school best friend all along.
14. It always snows on Christmas.
15. Put the word "Christmas" with any word, and it's probably already a movie.  The Christmas Secret, A Christmas Wish, The Christmas Shepherd, A Cookie Cutter Christmas, Christmas Lodge, A Christmas Visitor, The Christmas Blessing, The Christmas Heart, Summertime Christmas, The Christmas Choir, Christmas Miracle, The Christmas Card, Christmas Grace... I could go on and on.

Also, a lot of the Young Women in my ward love Hallmark Christmas movies, and it made Girls Camp really fun.  "Oh!  I know that one!  Is that the one where the girl's stuck in a snow globe??"


“Who could ever learn to love a beast?”
Beauty and the Beast