Tag Archives: Stuff I made

Managing Summer

So, I’ve implemented our summer plan.  I do the same thing pretty much every summer, typically with a different focus.  This summer our focus is going to be on kindness.  My personal focus is going to be on consistency.

One of the things that drives me a little batty every summer (and in every day of my life) are the repeated questions.  I don’t mind questions, I try to encourage my kids to ask me questions, but there are a few that get asked over and over with a certain degree of whinyness that I just go bonkers.  And it doesn’t help that these questions are often asked of me two inches from my face at 6:00 am, thereby scaring me out of sleep and out of my mind.

To try and combat these two problems, I made the following documents and posted them on my bedroom door.  Several people requested them so I thought I’d post them here.  I got my kids to help me think up what should go on these.  Lunchmeat really wanted to add the occurrence of Zombies to the “Should I wake up the Parents” sheet and was irritated when I didn’t.  I told him Zombies fell under the “Bad Guys” category.

Answers to Common Questions

Should I wake up the Parents

For those of you who saw the pictures of these signs on Instagram you will see that I have removed the images from the “Should I wake up the Parents” sign.  I got the pictures off a clip art site so they are not my own so I felt it would not be right to re-post them here. Sorry!

Do you have a “Summer Plan”?

Do you have a particular focus in your “Summer Plan”?

What questions would you add to the “Answers to Common Questions” sheet?

Did I miss anything you would add to the “Should I wake up the Parents” sheet?


Lego Temple

Recently my Husband was asked by his Mom, who happens to be the Stake Relief Society President, to build a Temple out of Lego’s for display at the Women’s conference this last Saturday.  I took pictures as it was being constructed. Normally you could not make a better request of my husband.  But a combination of sickness and work stress made it a bit less fun, but still every bit as rewarding, as it might have been.

First, the girls made a model for their dad to work off of. 🙂

IMG_20140924_220929_591Next my husband made Moroni and the top of the spire.

IMG_20140908_103206_842Next the base was started. It lived on the freezer in the garage for a while.

IMG_20140921_172651_428Then it lived on my kitchen table.












And my sideboard


The spire came on and off several timesIMG_20140925_064348_609At one point he modified-quoted Homer by saying “Somethings wrong, there are Lego’s here, but I don’t want to build them.”

I have one, not so proud moment during the construction on this Temple. It was the point at which I crept into my boy’s room while they were sleeping and stole their white Lego’s.


We have two Angel Moroni statues, one yellow unmodified Lego’s and one that I painted gold.


Finally it was done!IMG_20140927_240749_195

This involved multiple trips to two different Lego stores, and one trip to a slightly strange guy’s house, (Husband went, not me) that I met at a Lego store who collects and sells Lego’s.

I’ve been asked how many bricks are in this Lego Temple.  I don’t know, you are welcome to go count them if you like.

Here it is before we moved it to the event.


Here it is being displayed at the Women’s Conference.



I’m glad Husband got to do it and we got to be a part of it!

Conquering Dough

I’ve always been a cook.  I like to cook.  I like it when the food I make tastes good.  I can also bake, I make good cakes, frosting, brownies, and what have you.  But there is an area in my baking that I have always lacked. Dough.

My dough’s suck.

If it’s a batter, a sauce, or souffle, I can do it. But for some reason anything that is a dough I can’t do it.  So, I’ve been striving to figure it out.

Thanksgiving I decided I needed to figure out pie crust. I did a lot of reading about what goes on to make a good pie crust.  After that I found a recipe that looked promising and I followed it VERY carefully (with other types of cooking I can just kind of throw it together and it works out great, as that had not EVER worked for dough I thought I would try the normal method) and what do you know, I made the BEST pie crust I have ever tasted.  I made pecan pie, my favorite.

Next on my list was rolls.  I can make a passable loaf of bread, if you go for the dense and heavy loaf, but that never flies with rolls. I applied my same method.  Lots of reading on the internet and then carefully following the directions.  They came out good.  Not great, but good.  I tried again last night and I got what I wanted.  They are not the best rolls I’ve ever had, I think Shanan’s rolls hold that title, or maybe Bri’s, but they are good.  Quite good.

Today is pizza dough.  I have the dough shaped and pre-cooked.  I tasted a little bit to get an idea if was going to turn out.  It tastes promising.

Up next, pasta, or maybe biscuits…

Do you have a area of cooking that is a challenge for you?  Do you have any dough recipes I should try?


I work.  We all work, but I have a job away from home which pays me money.  So, in that way I provide for my family.  Somehow that is not as fulfilling as you would think.  I used to not work.  I worked, just not at a job that paid me money.  It was much more fulfilling.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take the afternoon off work (the one that pays me money) and take Lunchmeat to the dentist and then my wonderful mother-in-law watched him and Peanut so Cake and I could can three flats of tomatoes which she had gotten for us.

Cake worked with me for an hour or two then she got bored and played computer games after regretting not being at granny’s house, but I labored on.  In the end I had twenty four jars of canned tomatoes in various forms.  I ran out of jars…

This morning as I was wiping down the jars and putting them in my cupboard I was overtaken by a feeling of truly providing for my family, it was a very spiritual feeling.  I don’t know why it was so different from going to work and getting a pay check, but it was.  I guess reporting running and database work just isn’t spiritual for me.

I prayed and asked the Lord to bless my efforts that the food I had made would be good for my family.  I just sat there staring at the jars filled with this feeling of accomplishment and love for my family.  What a blessing it is to be able to provide for my family in what ever way I can.  I am grateful that I am able to learn skills that will make me more able to provide for them in a variety of ways.

Eulogy for a Tomato Plant

Back in our old house we had a family home evening one night about Alma 32 and seeds of the Gospel growing in your heart.  For the activity we went to Home Depot and bought some Tomato seeds and planted them along with a few other plans.  We got quite a few family home evenings out of our little garden.

Heavenly Father gave us the earth.

Heavenly Father created the plants.

Heavenly Father wants us to be good stewards over what he has given us.

We need to work together as a family.

Heavenly father wants us to be self sufficient.

You get the idea.

For a long time I thought that those first little tomato seeds were dead.  That nothing was going to happen with them.  But finally they started to grow, and grow, and grow, and grow….until it grew into THIS!

It was actually bigger then this later on.  This is about medium size.  Once it started growing it didn’t produce tomatoes at first and just as I was about to give up on it for that and pull it out then the tomatoes started, and BOY did we have tomatoes.  And I never had to buy tomatoes ever and we ate them almost every day.  It was a constant cycle this with this plant, always some in bloom, always some turning red.  It was perfect.

And then winter came, and we though we were at the end of our tomato plant, because as I’m sure you know, tomatoes only last once year.  But not this one, it made it through and continued to produce tomatoes all winter.  We did cover it on freezing nights and I am sure that’s why it made it.

We had another year of constant tomatoes.  The second year the tomatoes got smaller, but there were more of them, so what was lost in size was made up for in quantity.  They were also very good tomatoes, better then what you find at the store, but I think that’s true of all food you grow yourself, it just tastes better.

And then, the second winter…this one did not have such a happy outcome for the tomato plant.  We had too many hard freezes, and in hindsight maybe if we had cut it down from it’s vine stand maybe being lower to the ground we would have been able to keep it warm enough to live.  Husband actually considered putting out electric blanket on it, but we didn’t sadly.  I just didn’t survive.

It was a sad day when I had to pull out it’s dead vines from the ground.  I thought about all the lovely tomato dishes I had from it.  I was grateful for what I had been able to teach my children from that plant  I was grateful for the money I’d saved.  I was grateful for the commandments I’d been able to fulfill by growing it.

When I had cut down all the dead vines and I got down to the bottom and was at digging out the roots of the plant I realized something.  All that was just one plant.  I had assumed that it was several of the six seeds we had planted in that spot that had grown up together, but when I dug up the roots everything went back to one plant, everything else was offshoots connected back to that same one plant.

There are several great Gospel lessons in that I think.  Take your pick which one you need today.

For me what really stuck out to me that day is that we can have all these things happen in our lives all these events and blessings, all these delicious tomatoes, or even the rotten ones that we have to prune off and get rid of to grow well, and we think these things come from our friends or from our family or from life, but the real source of it all, the real person who’s giving us all of this, all these opportunity’s and blessings is our Heavenly Father.  It all comes back to him if we will just take the time to see it.

I hope someone will have a eulogy like that for me when I die, that I helped them see that all thing lead back to Heavenly Father

So, what eulogy or Gospel lesson do you take from the Tomato Plant?

Old House (A.K.A Rental Property)

I thought I would do a run down of all the projects we did in our old house (well, not ALL the projects, but all the big one’s or one that I consider important)

We repainted the front of the house and replaced the garage door

(Keep in mind this before picture is about six years before we redid it so it looks WAY better (not that it looks that great) here then it did before the re-do, six years in the hot sun will do a LOT of damage.)

This is one of those bang–for-your-buck, I-wish-I-did-this-years-ago projects.  The repainting took me about an hour and a half and the garage door was WAY cheaper that we thought it would be and it make the house look SOOOOOO much better.  The picture just doesn’t do justice to how much better this make the front of the house look.

Talk about a different space!

I think the only thing that is the same in this room is the ceiling fan, and that is only because we didn’t live there quite long enough for me to get to it

If I had to pick a favorite thing out of the things we did in this room it would have to be the floors (but that encompasses many rooms so I get to pick another) so I would pick the paint.  We HATED the Apache White that was the color of the WHOLE HOUSE when we got married.  We had finally replaced it everywhere but in our closet when we decided to move and rent out the house.  I LOVE the red that we picked.  It was fun, bright and was a great offset to the dark floors and furniture we have.

On the floors I have some advise for you.  If you buy a laminate from somewhere (like IKEA) and when you are installing it you find it is softer then you hoped or you are thinking, man, I really wish that this had a higher gloss to it, I would really recommend you do what I did right before we turned it over to renters.  We babied our bamboo floors.  We are realistic and know that no one else will, so I got one gallon of minwax high gloss wood floor sealer/protector and spent about two and a half hours applying it.  The floors shine like a soldier boots and are just as hard as they are.  If we ever need to add another coat we just buff it with a fine gain sandpaper and put on another coat and it will renew the shine and reharden it up.   I wish that we had done this the day we installed the floor.  Oh well, live and learn.

Also, a word to the wise, if you buy wood floors as dark as we did, be prepared to dust mop them daily to get rid of the dusty foot prints from people coming in and out.

I know it’s a night and day shots, but that’s also the difference in what we (Read Husband) did.

The old fence got a lot worse and eventually fell down.  The grass was actually really great at one point, I took this picture after we had not been living there for a while so we were not watering it every day.  We did have a wonderful neighbor who kept it alive for us though! (Thanks Jen!)  The little garden we had was fun.  We had nuclear jalapeno’s, crazy tomato plan that lasted for two years and produced more tomatoes then I can count (which it’s killing me I can’t find a picture of!), among other things.  It’s amazing what you can get out of a little garden.  The yard shade was great.  It’s what made it possible for us to have a yard.

We also had our little sandbox.  I have a love hate relationship with that sandbox.

I loved that my kids had it to play in.  Pretty much the rest was hate.  We always had sand in our bed, no matter how hard I tried to get it off my kids before they came inside.  It was just too close to the back door.  There was always sand EVERYWHERE.  Which was awesome with my aforementioned dark floors.

The back yard itself was wonderful because the way our house was it was shaded thought most of the day, which is great.  Once we had done some of these things the back yard (when it wasn’t too hot) was like another room for us.

I think that this was the first thing that we did to the house after we got married.

We redid this closet.  The space on the right can actually be used as a desk and had a drawer set (which we took with us).

You can’t see it very well in this shot but there is a set of shelves over the doors.  My mom’s idea.  Most of the changes in this room came with us.  Lots of decorations, lots of toys, lots of kid stuff.

The best thing that Husband ever did, and again I don’t know why we waited so long to do it was this.

I know it seems a small thing but floor lamps and children DO NOT MIX!

The Master is next

I know, your thinking, Jenny, it’s not any different, you painted the trim white and changed the carpet, I thought you said you hated that paint color and replaced it everywhere.  I did!  But then I did again.  I repainted it with the help of my wonderfully helpful sister-in-law (Thanks Amber!) because I didn’t know how into Purple, light blue and grey renters would be.  Plus the paint was flat and it needed some SERIOUS touch-up.  So much so that it was just easier to just repaint the whole thing and call it a day.  And it just so happened that we still had a TON of that hideous color in our garage.  I will give it props for one thing, that is some good paint.  The can said Wal-Mart but it only took 1 1/2 coats to cover my seriously dark purple.  I was really impressed.  Next time I buy paint I’m going to try getting it from Wal-Mart and see how it goes.  Also, I learned from that experience, unless you are painting something you have no way of EVER EVER EVER touching, don’t paint in flat.

Speaking of purple, here are some pictures of it when it did have the purple wall.

One thing that Husband also did that if you are looking carefully you will notice is that the ceiling fan in this room has a chain and plugs into an outlet.  Husband fixed that.  That was a wonderful day to be able to look up and no more chain!

We also did some stuff in the bathrooms like

This and This!

Sorry, no before shots on these.  We had your standard faucet and your standard teeny tiny tri-fold wooden old and falling apart medicine cabinets.  We saw these on sale at IKEA (my favorite store) and we bought one set for our bathroom and another set that goes along the whole wall of the other bathroom.  It made an AMAZING difference.  Event though they are bigger then the old ones it made the space feel bigger and doubled the storage. in the bathrooms.

  And last, but not least.

The Kitchen

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, I really think it is here.  Wow, the old kitchen almost makes me depressed.

Here are some more shots of the new kitchen to brighten me back up.

The thing that I learned the most from the kitchen re-do is that taking just a doorway out can have a HUGE impact on a room.  You can see from the before and after shots the wall that was taken out and the  pass-through that was also added.  Just taking that wall out and being able to move the fridge over a few feet made a HUGE difference in the functionality of the kitchen it was quite astonishing.

So, I guess that’s it.  We did a lot of stuff to that house in the eight and a half years we lived there.  A lot of memories of living there.  A happy start to a marriage, three babies came home there, life has rolled on.  I’m happy that we have completed all of the thing we wanted to do with it.  That bring a sense of completion with it that very fulfilling.  I’m also happy that we still own it so that we can continue to care for it has been so important to us.

That’s not to say I’m not excited to live in a bigger place.  I AM!  I will show you how that’s going soon.

So what is your favorite thing we did?

What has been the favorite thing you have done to YOUR house?

What lesson’s have you learned in your DIY?  I’d rather learn from you then the hard way like I did on some of my projects.

Three Lives

I feel like I’ve been living three lives for the past two months.

One here in our new home.

One and work.

And one back in our old home.

It makes it really hard to do any very well.

We have been working on finishing up all the projects that didn’t quite get finished while we were living there in preparation for our renter to move in.  It was amazing how many projects were at 95% completion.  It’s also amazing to me that you can live with most projects at 95% completion just fine.

So we would work, do school, take care of kids, and try to spend as much time as we could going to our old house (which is 45 (if you drive fast) minutes from our new house) to finish things up and also try put our new house together and settle into a new life here.  And this was all while I have been dealing with an extremely busy work schedule, starting a new migraine regiment that involves injections (which if you know me at all you will know how much I HATE shots) and Peanut starting a new school, and Husband starting his heaviest semester, and probably hardest semester for his degree.

It’s a good thing I’m on meds already or this would have put me on some.

But, yesterday I officially completed the work on the old house.  I declare it done.

I hope to take some picture of it before they move in this week.  I would really like to re-cap all the things we’ve done to that house and walk down memory lane, as there are so many memories there.  Close the chapter so to speak.

But, it is done.

Well…just one more thing…then it will be done.  I promise.