Monday, August 22, 2011

A Fond Farewell

Well, despite my best efforts, fate threw a kink in my 7 Skirt Styles in 7 Days. My husband's wonderful grandpa, John Edward Smith died on Thursday after 87 amazing years of selfless life. He was a fantastic cancer surgeon and part of the Army's Signal Corps during World War II. He always had a kind word about everyone and was a humble doer of good deeds until the day be died. He is a very special man to us; I love him like he was my own grandpa and it has been a tender time of remembrance and reflection for our whole family.

With the crazy amount of preparation needed for the funeral (I played my violin with my nieces and we had to practice a lot!), I just couldn't finish the project in 7 days. I apologize and I will definitely make the last two skirts sometime this week. I'm looking forward to wrapping it up and giving you some more inspiration.

Today, I'm going to enjoy the amazing spirit of love, comfort, and peace that I have felt since Grandpa died. I know I will see him again and I know he is having a glorious reunion with Grandma and his loved ones in heaven. I appreciate deeply your kind comments full of sympathy and compassion. Hold your family close, take care of each other, do a good deed for someone and have a wonderful week!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 5: Two-Tiered Skirt

Happy Friday! The arrival of the weekend means we're more than halfway done with my 7 Skirt Styles in 7 Days challenge. Where is time going? I hope you've been inspired to give a few of these skirts a try (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4). They are an easy way to jazz up any lady's wardrobe, no matter her age.

Today's skirt is a quick and easy one. It's comfy and straightforward, making it perfect for playing all day long, a quick beach cover up or a did-someone-just-knock-on-my-door-as-I'm-stepping-out-of-the-shower? moment. Those are great, right? Ha! These skirts are almost as quick and easy to make as the yoga skirts, so try making a bunch. You can also use the method for this skirt to make multi-tiered skirts, like the long sweeping skirts belly dancers wear. Hmm...I need one.

1/2 - 1 yard lightweight fabric (cotton, blends, linen, chambray, and seersucker are great)
1/2" wide elastic to fit around the waist.
Thread to match

Measure your wearer's waist and cut a piece of 1/2" wide elastic to that length. Measure down the outside of the leg from the waist to determine your skirt length.

Cut the first tier: take the waist measurement and add 5-8" to it to make it a number that's easy to work with (I am not smart in math, so I like to work with even numbers I can calculate quickly). This number is completely arbitrary, so don't worry too much about it. You just need at least five inches to provide ease in the hips. Divide the skirt's length measurement by 3. Use this number (round it up or down to make it easier) plus 1 1/2" to determine the length of the piece of fabric. My measurements were 18" waist and 14" length, so I went with a piece of fabric that was 30" (around the waist) by 6".

To cut the next tier, multiply your expanded waist measurement by 1.5. This will give you the width of the tier, and the length is just the total skirt length length number minus the yoke number (so 14-6 gave me 8". Add 1" for seam allowances and cut your second tier. I ended up with tier 1's fabric being 30"x6" and tier 2's fabric being 45"x9".

ALERT: I'm in a crisis right now and can't finish the post now, so I'll wrap it up in the morning. Sorry!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Independence Day 2012

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. I love America and I'm thankful to live in a great land of freedom and opportunity.

We celebrated this year by running a 5K in the Freedom Run in Provo. Well, I should say I ran, along with Greg, Leslie, Kinzie, the Alexander family, and Rex and Case in the stroller. It was a blast for me, but since Adam and the kids had to be up by 5:00 a.m., they didn't find it quite as enjoyable.

We headed to Alpine after the run to get ready for the Neider reunion. It was a fun-filled day with cousins and delicious food and lots of preparation for the highlight of the day: Rob's fireworks spectacular. Adam and Rob set everything up and I made a music mix to go along with it. Karli spent her time being cute and modeling her darling ensemble that we whipped up the night before.

The fireworks were definitely the best part of the day. Aerial fireworks really make a show spectacular and the kids were enthralled.

That's Rex peeking out from his hood, enjoying his tasty fingers.

God bless America, land that I love!

Karli's Fifth Birthday

My sweet, caring, helpful, creative Kar-Kar turned five. FIVE! She's starting kindergarten, becoming a very good little cheerleader, and getting sweeter every day. We all think she is wonderful and we are happy to have her in our family.

She helped me make a Ponyo cake with lots of fondant.

We had a fun party with lots of cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents, and even some friends from Korea.

I love this expression on her face!

She blew out all the candles like a pro. Happy birthday, Karli! We love you and your free spirit to pieces!

The Alexanders and Kahananuis came to Utah for a loooong visit and we had a blast!

The kids especially loved the dinosaur museum...

...the Children's Discovery Garden...

...and playing in Grandma's and Grandpa's yard. These three boys had a blast! We really missed having Gracie, Cooper, and Colton here to enjoy the fun.

After eating way too much yummy food, several birthday parties, Independence Day, and hours of fun, our cousins had to head home. We were so sad! Come back soon, fun families!

Happy Birthday, Adam! You're A Great Father

This handsome guy turned 32 this week, so we made him some yummy food at a barbecue with our families. Despite my best efforts, I totally failed in the gift department. Boo. I feel like a schmuck. He is so good to me on my birthday. Darn it.

Just six days later was Father's Day. I feel very lucky to be married to Adam and to have children with him. He is a magnificent father! He balances me, always sneaks the kids out after bedtime for milkshake runs, and teaches them great lessons that will help them throughout life. We all adore him. Thanks for being so fantastic, Adam!

Friday, June 10, 2011

I Am Slowly Going Crazy

Sheesh. I always knew that parenting was hard, but I had no idea it was this kind of hard. I've had several things going on that seem to add to the overall mundane, annoying task of being cooped up in the house with four kids all day and most of the time I feel like I'm going to have a nervous breakdown. I hate admitting this, because I know it's a real blessing to have children. I adore them! I'm happy that I get to stay home with them to see and hear the cool things they learn. I'd never want it any other way. I wish I could program my kids, though, so that we had more harmony and less cacaphony!

Two weeks ago, I was helping my girls clean their HIDEOUSLY messy room. They had three years' worth of dress-ups, broken toys, shoes that don't fit, and piles of miscellany in their tiny closet, all over their floor, behind their beds--the place was truly a disaster. I suddenly started to get really hot. Then, I got really dizzy. The room was spinning, I couldn't breathe, I had a pounding headache, and I couldn't even walk to the kitchen for a drink. I had to crawl. I was having a panic attack! Who does that? After a useless trip to the doctor, the PA decided that since I didn't have traces of thyroid problems in my blood, I must have Labyrinthitis (a middle-ear viral infection). It causes dizziness which causes panic attacks and there's nothing to be done for it since it's a virus. Boo. So I've been having attacks and lots of vertigo for the past 16 days, and I have four more weeks before I'm out of the usual healing period. I can't function and it makes me feel even worse because I'm not accomplishing the things I usually do. Ugh.

My three older kids are always, and I mean ALWAYS at each other's throats. I can't stand it anymore! I think that they spend seven or eight collective hours in time out every day. All of my usual punishments or rewards are useless lately, and that is hard for me. Do any of you have good ideas to rememdy this? I'm at a total loss.

Amber is out of school for the summer, so she's bored because we have little-kid activities going on for the others. She cries about everything. I ask her to brush her hair, she cries. I ask her if she wants oatmeal or Mini Wheats for breakfast, she cries. I ask her to gather up her shoes from the family room, more tears. AARGH! I am really not looking forward to having her turn 12, when she has an extra dose of hormones on top of her already-emotional personality. I've tried every method of encouragement, reward, threat, and ignorance, but nothing seems to help. Add to this her bossiness and know-it-all personality and it really gets on my nerves. I love the girl and think she's amazing, talented, smart, and hilarious, but sometimes I just can't stand the attitude. Help!

Sorry to rant, but I want to document this stage because I've never heard my mom talk about the downs of being a stay-at-home mom. Everything is always loveley and beautiful and harmonious in her account (which, I know, was not, because I lived it). It feels good to vent. I know things will get better, and I'm looking forward to that day! Until then, you'll find me curled up on the floor of my closet, hugging a Diet Pepsi and clutching a handfull of low-strength Advil in my hand, desperately humming "Love at Home" to myself, and dreaming of the day that Adam and I can take a two-week vacation sans-children to Hawaii. He he.

Seperate and Not So Equal

Hi Friends. I haven't been blogging here lately because there's someplace else. I'm spending my time with something more rewarding (for now) than the everyday ho-hum of listening to four kids fight all. the. time. Ha ha. I started up a craft blog because I felt like this was becoming one, and I'm hoping to keep this as a family info blog so I can publish it and have it for posterity (just in case my great-great grandson decides that my daily goings on are important for some reason). So if you're interested in my crafting of late, check it out:

Clark and Lily: A Regular Gal's Crafty Endeavors

I'm still trying to get it looking nice, but since I can't run PSE on my laptop, it's still pretty feeble. I have a few recipes and tutorials, but mostly its just a place for me to show off my efforts. Maybe no one is looking, but that's okay because I feel like even a void in cyberspace offers some sort of valid audience for me. Eventually, I'd love to have pages of tutorials and recipes and stuff, so hopefully that day will come sooner than later. I'd love your feedback if anything pops into your brain while viewing the site.

Happy crafting and happy day, everyone!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Amber is a Kindergarten Graduate!

I've never been one for graduation ceremonies. However, despite having a labyrinthitis-related panic attack in the gym and trying to wrangle three unruly children, Amber's program at school was adorable, short, and sweet. It's been a great year of learning and fun!

The kids sang a few cute songs and recited a poem.

Then they received diplomas and had a great photo op. Too bad my phone's camera isn't great.

We headed back to the classroom to pick up her portfolio and grab a snack.

Mrs. Belnap told the parents how much she loves her group of students and got choked up (she's due next week, after all) and Amber made such a funny face. I thought Amber would be used to crybaby-women by now since I am such a bawler, but no.

Then it was time for one last hug and a photo with the amazing Mrs. Belnap. She was so sweet and wonderful to Amber. I'm sad that Amber has to move on, but I know it will be fun for her to go to first grade.

Way to go, Amber. We love you and think you are a beautiful little smarty-pants. Now, bring on summer!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

This is Why I Love Motherhood

I feel like I have some pretty darn cute children. It's moments like these that make me love being their mama!

Playing at the playground.

Playing "Kinzie's Orchestra Concert".

Playing in the cabinets.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Super Rex is Three Years Old

Rex turned three on May 2 and I was, frankly, really excited for his birthday. Every time we'd go to a store, he'd ask, "Hey mom, can I have that for my birthday?" about everything he saw. He wanted a superhero birthday cake, and with my new found love of homemade fondant, my mind was racing with ideas for a cool cake. At long last, we took Rex shopping and all he wanted was a $5 DVD, Spiderman 2, and some Spiderman sunglasses. Total cost of his birthday gifts: $9.98. Sweet. We weren't about to remind him that he wanted Legos, Thor gear, the Batmobile, and a slew of other obnoxious, noise-making toys. There'll be plenty of time for that, right?

We celebrated his birthday at home by making these cute minion "cupcakes" and monster faces for dinner (taco salad arranged in silly faces).

Since the minions were made from Twinkies, frosting, and smarties, I decided we'd better sit them atop something sort of healthy, so we made bran muffins for the bases. The kids helped me decorate them and they were a big hit!

Mette helped me with this cake. The innards are fresh banana cake with cream cheese frosting. Fab-u-lous! Everyone loved it.

We had a cute little superhero birthday party for Rex and the cousins a few days later. I cut capes from two plastic tablecloths and the kids decorated them with stickers. Easy! Fun! Cheap! Perfect for toddlers! I cut some masks from felt and attached elastic cord at the edges. It was a perfect way to turn a bunch of motley little ones into adorable superheroes.

The kids went wild for the glittery foam stickers.

Super Parker!

Whitney looks like she'll have a bright future in crime fighting.

Karli is just adorable.

Hannah flew all the way from Denmark to attend. He he. We were so happy to have her there!

Aren't they darling?

Too bad you can't hear Case yelling "Du-per Man!" It's precious.

I love these pictures of Rex in his mask. He's so cute!

Rex is such a funny, sweet, smart little kid. He loves candy, climbing, cars and trucks, and everything else boy. I love the way he describes things and how he always says "HI!" to everyone. I even think it's adorable when he steals my phone, heads to the couch, and hides under his blanket so I won't know he has it. He makes our family fun and we love little Rexy to pieces. Happy birthday, Rex. You are super!

Fabric, Glue, Sparkles, Flour, Sugar, Mess!

We've been (okay, fine, I've been) on a creative spree lately. Here are just a few of the projects I've finished in the last month or two. Sadly, by the time I'm finished making them, I have no energy to blog about them, so it's a grand notion that a picture is worth a thousand words!

Rex's superhero birthday cake, complete with homemade fondant. The inside was fresh banana cake with cream cheese frosting. Delish!

Strawberry and cream cupcakes from Our Best Bites (my new favorite baking info blog). They are divine. Try them out!

Lavender-scented bath fizzies for our moms (here's the recipe). They were so fun and easy to make and the kids helped me. You can also hide waterproof surprises inside!

8 styles of bows for the Lehi Rec Cheer teams to choose from. Now I get to make 160 more. Yay!

What started out as a cute, fairly simple variegated tutu then turned into three ensembles for the Tulip Princess Pageant in which Amber, Karli, and my niece Whitney competed. So cute!

These outfits ended up being a lot of work, but only cost me $7.20 for the whole shebang. I love the light green corset tops and lining (they lace up the cute!); the girls looked like little flower fairies. I'm also in love with the ombre effect of layering three colors of tulle inside each petal.

I found these darling leopard flip-flops at the dollar store and knew they'd be a perfect birthday gift for Amber and Karli's friend Gracie. Since they were only a buck, though, they needed some jazzing up. I added the liquid sequin fabric strips and made a cute little messenger bag to match. Since I needed coordinating fabric, I painted spots on plain white cotton. We filled the bag with goodies and it turned out to be adorable!

I was commissioned to make this robe (ha! That sounds so much cooler than "asked") for a friend of my sisters' who is undergoing chemotherapy. I hope this fabulous, luxuriously silky (and sooo annoying to sew on) fabric makes her feel glamorous. What a sad disease cancer is!

My niece Whitney's "horsey cake" with rainbow layers inside. Love!

This is my first attempt at fondant. It is a mess at the bottom but it tasted great and looked darling. Whitney was crazy about it!

This one was easy. I cut a strip off the bottom of a white t-shirt, drew on the motif with a Sharpie, and tied it around Rex's head. He's obsessed with "The Karate Kid" and he calls it his Daniel San headband. He sleeps in it. Hilarious.

Two adorable Easter ensembles for my two adorable girls. I found tutorials for the skirt and top at Made, one of my very favorite blogs to read. The girls loved these, which made me so happy! Most of the time, I spend hours making them things about which they feel lukewarm, so seeing their excitement upon finishing these get ups was priceless.

Here's to another busy month of crafting, baking, and sewing. I really love it!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blogger Malfunction!

GRRR! I just spent an hour writing a great post about Amber's sixth birthday, and this is what I ended up with. Just know that I'm working on fixing it and I'm about to throw my computer across the room. :) More to come later...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Amber's Sixth Birthday Bash

My little girl is six! What?! Where has the time gone? I still vividly remember the month leading up to her birth, the torture of those last three weeks of pregnancy, the vain attempts at throwing myself into labor (like running two miles and jumping on the trampoline every day with that enormous belly of mine), and finally, the excitement of being induced and knowing that all those months of waiting would produce a sweet little girl and change our lives in every way. Sheesh. What a great six years!

Amber was so excited to have a big birthday party this year, and of course, her idea of the perfect party was a "Pink Stilettos Party". If you don't know about Pink Stilettos, they are a pop group who recently released their first album. They're gorgeous, talented, and even cooler, they are my sisters. Amber begged them to perform at her party and they sweetly obliged, so all the girls (and boys, and family members including grandpas and uncles)were treated to a private concert. It was awesome.

Ever the opinionated fashionista, Amber just HAD to have her own pair of pink stilettos. Fortunately, I found a sweet pair of pink, sparkly, ruffly high heels at Walmart, shoved in the very back of the dress-up section, that were screaming her name. Even better still was that they were only $4. The shoes fit her demands, and then she explained to me in great detail that she wanted a tall cake with two round tiers, not covered in frosting but in whipped cream, with a black bow and ribbon. Since fondant work scares me to death, we compromised on marshmallow flowers. The snack table included purple chocolate in the fountain, gooey popcorn, tons of cookies and other junk food, and Capri Suns tied up with a little bling for each girl (a huge, fake diamond ring--a big hit!). We even found a sassy black and pink high-heel pinata. After a frantic, last-minute set up, we were ready to rock in the studio at my parents' house.

My sisters are the best! First, they fixed Amber's hair with extensions and did her makeup. She was smokin' hot and ultra fierce.

Then, all the party guests had a shoe fashion show (Amber's idea, of course...she's obsessed), complete with a runway and an MC (my cute niece, Alyssa). Kinzie, Brooke, and Tayler were the judges, and everyone earned a cute ribbon with their superlative on it (Amber was convinced she needed the "Highest Heels" medal). We decorated little paper purses and had snacks. Then, the moment of truth: Pink Stilettos emerged and then it was a party.

They invited most of the girls up to sing with them. "Dreamgirl" seems to be the favorite of most young divas, but PS included "Crazy About You", "Runaway", "Always in Love", and "Thank You" in their set. They finished it off with a dazzling rendition of "Happy Birthday" and everyone loved it. My sisters rock!

Amber had a grand time, her friends were so adorable, sweet, and generous, and I think everyone who attended really enjoyed the show. I know for sure that these big birthday parties are going to be a seldom thing--like maybe at ages six, twelve, and eighteen. :) I don't have the stamina or financial wherewithal to produce them every year.

The Pink Stilettos plus Amber.

This is my cousin Savanna, whose birthday was the same day as Amber's party. She is so sweet and darling!

My cake started to slump halfway through the party, but it tasted great. I never look nice in pictures of my kids' birthdays because I spend all day on those darn cakes. I don't know if they're worth the trouble.
Happy birthday, sweet Amber! We love you and think you are fabulous!