lessons– teaching by example

one of the subjects that my professors in college beat to a pulp was that our children learn best by example. In some cases, it doesn’t matter what you teach them, they will learn and repeat more of your actions than your words.

last week we gave a lady from our ward a ride to school when we saw her walking across the road, as we were on our way to the gym. I knew she had at least two miles left to walk and it was freezing! Plus, it wasn’t much of a difference from my day – service is always a sacrifice. After we dropped her off and headed back to the gym- I talked with my daughter about service and how good it makes us feel. I also told her how Heavenly Father needs us to take care of his children and Sister K was his daughter. She then replied “like I help Little Miss B?” Exactly…

So last night one of my dear girl friends called me and needed some help getting groceries into her home (she is prego with twins). As I was leaving A asked to go. She was supposed to be on her way to bed, so I declined the want. As I left her tears started heavily. She exclaimed, “Mom! I love her!” As I was walking away, I had the thought of how important it is for A to know that I love to serve others and know how to do it… by example. So I turned around and headed back for her – pajamas, burger king crown and Dora Crocs.

‘A’ helped me carry groceries into my friend’s home and then we made her dinner, did her dishes and put away groceries. As we left with her garbage, A said to me, “Mom, I feel so good! We helped one of Heavenly Father’s children like we gave that one girl a ride last time?” “Yes! Yes!” I told her in return. Parenting success!

So worth the hour later of bedtime-


lessons–the script of mother and wife

sometimes I don’t feel like I am heard as a mother and wife (tonight being one of those nights). who cares about mom? what does she know? oh, that’s just mom talking… no biggie, let’s keep playing. But expectations are SO high as to having dinner on the table, getting the house in livable condition, and listening and being there for someone whenever they need you. NEVER visa versa…

I get interrupted and never get to finish stories or even my sentences. I rarely get my space and always have someone in my space. I get demands for snacks and food, I cook and clean up after everyone. I even get peed on and thrown up on.

so important, but unimportant…

Sure there are rewarding experiences… but sometimes, I would just like to clock out and just be Clarissa for a while. Sadly that will never happen. And most days, I wouldn’t even consider clocking out. I love being this, but I worry that me as a person, is getting lost. I am just becoming a role – a character that the playwright wrote in to fill the empty holes while the rest of the characters get to give in to their every whim without responsibility.

It is like those movies that you realize they didn’t clean up the counter in one scene, but it is cleaned up in the next… kind of like a glitch… well, guess who did the cleaning? MOM!!!

It makes me understand God and his role with his children in deeper context. We often forget that he is a person. We expect so much out of him, but rarely ever listen to him and what he has to say to us. Being a mom sure helps me understand his mercy, compassion and unconditional love and sacrifice.

my insight time is up and my one hand is tired of typing. guess what’s in the other? a baby... of course!


the analogy of the gondola

Elder David Bednar of the quorum of the twelve talked at BYU-Idaho a while back. He spoke on technology and how it is taking us into a technology virtual reality and away from this reality. You can find his talk here… http://www.byub.org/talks/Talk.aspx?id=3543

It is an incredible talk and from Claire’s 101 – so “before its time.” Even though it was only given two years ago, I have seen more and more people get sucked into this “virtual reality.”


Here’s my story to go along with this talk-

So this past month, my mom took me and my girls down to Telluride, CO for a trip on the Gondola ride. It is free and so gorgeous (two amazing pluses in my book!) Anyway, Little Miss A was thrilled at how big she felt going on the Gondola. Her anticipation was so worth the two hour drive. As we went up the first stretch, she realized that there were gondolas passing us every so often… and that they were filled with people.

We told her that she can wave to the people in passing and that if she waved good enough, they would probably wave back. Excitedly, she started waving her hand at every gondola passing by. And guess what? It worked! A group of people saw her and waved back. A’s enthusiasm rose as her faith was strengthened and her “testimony” and grew of this.


As each gondola passed, we noticed an interesting trend. Each gondola that had a group of people waved. Almost every single time! They were engaged in the outside world as they happily interacted with this sweet girl passing. However, each gondola that passed with only one person never gave a wave in return. In fact, they didn’t even see my sweet A. Each single, alone person was looking down and either on a phone, texting, or listening to music.

These people were not of this reality. They had chosen to distance themselves of the gorgeous surroundings and of my sweet A. As we got off the gondola, I suddenly felt sorry for those people who missed this interaction. It could have made their day… way more than a text from a friend. Plus, if they would have just looked up, they might have seen her and realized that they were missing out on this beautiful experience and scenery.

I love in Elder Bednar’s talk he says'-

“I testify that God lives and is our
Heavenly Father. He is the Author of the
plan of salvation. Jesus is the Christ, the
Redeemer, whose body was bruised,
broken, and torn for us as He offered the
atoning sacrifice. He is resurrected; He
lives; and He stands at the head of His
Church in these latter days. To be
“encircled about eternally in the arms of
his love” (2 Nephi 1:15) will be a real and
not a virtual experience.”


I second this with my testimony that even though technology is good and can be used for great things, Satan is fully aware of the fact that we do have physical bodies and he doesn’t. He will do everything in his power to keep us from enjoying this reality. There are so many things that we can spend our time on – social networking, blogs (ours and every one else’s), tv and movies online, music, games, pinterest, etc… One of my favorite bloggers who I read religiously just posted about realizing that she spent too much time blogging and now sets the timer for fifteen minutes to manage her time better, so she can enjoy her family more.

So what can you do to come back to this reality? Does it mean to let your calls go to voicemail? Turn your phone on silent during evening hours (like 5-8pm)? Drop your FB account and focus on your kids more?

One cool idea that I have seen is to have a basket at functions that asks people to drop their phones off for the time. I loved it!!!

PS- I just have to let you know that even I am not perfect… because as I went to put photos on this post, I noticed something IRONIC


I got a phone call on the gondola! I had to answer it because it had to do with us selling our car. Now that I think about it, I was so frustrated and cut the call short because I wanted to enjoy this moment with my girls. Ha! See, I am normal-



I made my baby a car seat cover and have had my girl friend tell me how much she loves it… and she just had a baby, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to whip one up… and whip I did. During my baby’s nap time, I sewed as fast as I could. Thankfully I didn’t have any big hitches! Which also allowed me to make a skirt (posting this week). I have always loved this fabric and now that I have made something out of it, I want to find something else because I love it so much!



adam & eve–a lesson on self-reliance

I was asked to speak on self reliance as it relates to Adam and Eve at a RS meeting this past week. These were my thoughts-

My 17 year-old brother was discussing the matter of gardening with my parents just the other week. Now, he definitely is a teenager so parents and what parents do is EXACTLY opposite of what he wants to do… even if they are eating ice cream! BUT, I really feel like the generation of teens right now really feels like they are entitled to all the earth! That is another discussion for another day, but he just couldn’t understand the idea of growing a garden. For one, he was asking about the financial incentive, but he also was questioning the work when you can just “go buy” from the grocery store. He honestly just thought that gardening was a “hobby.”

I have mentioned before and will mention again how much I love Adam and Eve. There is a reason why there is so much focus on them in the temple! It was mentioned that Adam and Eve are really hard to relate to because they lived so long ago. I beg to differ! They are the perfect role models for each of us and our relationships. However, I do think that the idea of learning self-reliance from them is a little tricky and, as I have found, really subjective.

Through all my reading and studies this week, I feel that Adam and Eve did teach us about self-reliance… but not like our “year of food supply, 72-hour kit, bomb shelter” kind of self-reliance. They taught us about self-reliance through relying on God.

We are asked to become self reliance to learn; learn responsibility, work, equality, and to be more like god. On top of this we can grow a stronger relationship with God and in our marriage.

The first reason for self-reliance is that we need to learn responsibility. We have to take care of ourselves and to learn that, we have to learn how to take care of something like a garden or finances. While Adam and eve were in the garden, they were given freedom to take care of the garden. I believe this was in preparation to go out into the “world.” So while our children are in our “garden” we can prepare them to be responsible outside of the “garden” as God did for Adam and Eve. I don’t think that they were responsible for the garden though. This is why… the definition of responsibility is: The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something… Adam and Eve weren’t accountable for anything in the garden because they didn’t have opposition. It wasn’t until they partook of the fruit that they became accountable. Plus, in the second article of faith it says that we are accountable for our own sins and not for Adam’s sin. So we are to learn responsibility in self-reliance so that it will transfer to other areas of our lives and we will know that to have anything worthwhile, we need to be responsible for our actions.

Secondly, we need to be self-reliant to learn equality. The state of being equal means to be the same in status, rights, and opportunities. Self-reliance teaches us that we all have equal opportunities to learn and grow. Adam and Eve became equal in their work load of collecting food and getting themselves shelter. I honestly don’t think Eve was a diva and sat down while Adam built a shelter around her! If that were so, she wouldn’t be respected in our religion as much as she is (however, I do think she is misunderstood lots). We also learn from self-reliance that we all have the status of living creatures (that we all need to take care of ourselves or we die) and that we all have rights to what can be produced out of the ground… it is not one person’s right to grow and another to consume… that is inequality.

Third is the knowledge of work that we learn. In order for living things to function, they need to take care of themselves. And this takes effort and work. Back to the idea of entitlement… I really feel that God has asked us to be self-reliant because he knew that our world would feel entitled to things without working for it. We have renters in New York in our rental properties that think we should pay for their rent… when they don’t have jobs and aren’t working two keep the rental property taken care of!!! Obviously this idea of entitlement is a vicious parasite… how do we teach our children (and ourselves) that entitlement isn’t an eternal principle? By work… work is an eternal principle and won’t stop after death! We know that missionary work goes on after death and we know that we will be able to create worlds and more children after death… and if you think that it won’t take work, then you need to be pulled back to reality by potty training a toddler! :) Actually, we can see this because again, Adam and eve worked in the garden and Adam worked to help create the earth. It is also mentioned that Adam was cursed to eat by the “sweat of his brow all the days of his life, for his good.” For his good… that work is good.

I also think that self-reliance helps us to be humble. We not only have to rely on God for ends to meet and to fully let go of relying on our parents, friends, etc. But I also have been humbled with the help that I have received from others as they have brought over parts of their harvest (like zucchini) to share.

Finally we are to learn to be more like God. God created the earth for the use of man. We are tending to God’s creations with respect and love… and then we will learn what God is like. I know that when I am outdoors and have my hands in the dirt, that I feel closer to God. I know that taking care of my finances and being frugal helps me rely more on God and then I feel closer to him.

Isn’t God perfect in these things that we have talked about: responsibility, equality, and work? Would he ask us to be self-reliant if he wasn’t?

As a side note, and my final note, I feel like self-reliance helps us grow a stronger marriage/relationship with our spouse and God. We have to work together to be self-reliant and that is ultimately what Adam and Eve show us in their examples. Eve was created from Adam’s rib (not head or foot)… but right in the middle to become a helpmeet… a companion, and equal. As we carry the burden of being self-reliant, we can look to Adam and eve’s example. They worked and learned together to live in this world outside of the Garden. They needed one another to keep going. Eve wasn’t planting and sowing while Adam was eating the harvest. They worked as one and so can we as we let go of others and are self-reliant together. In a sense, self-reliance isn’t being alone as the word self implies, it allows for a more full joy on this earth as we draw closer to god (and our spouse if we are married) because we are learning eternal principles and practices.


marriage: parent & adult child relationships

How are we supposed to treat the parent-adult child or in-law relationships in our lives? This is a question that has almost plagued me in my marriage. My hubby and I come from completely different backgrounds! The longer we are married, the more opposite we seem because of how we were raised. He folds his socks as matches are made. I put all the socks into a pile and then match and fold them at the end of the other folding. His family goes boating on Sundays, mine barely lays a finger out the front door (except for church responsibilities). Our families carry different standards and values, and somehow my hubby and I ended up together.

I was asked by a friend of mine what I know and have studied about extended family relationships and thought of how much I really needed to revamp my knowledge on extended family and what parent-adult child relationships should be like.

My first thoughts took me to the scriptures (most answers can be found in those things!). I first went to the Book of Mormon and looked at the relationship of Nephi and his father Lehi. Nephi obeys his father’s desires to leave Jerusalem, to go get the plates, and then to get a wife (but who wouldn’t obey that one? I mean, Laman and Lemuel followed that one straightway). But Nephi didn’t just blindly follow his father… he chose for himself. This is apparent in the Tree of Life vision. Lehi shared his vision and then Nephi asked for himself. I also love that Nephi came away with different and more in-depth answers to that vision. So how can this relate to the parent-adult child relationships we have?

The other story that I read about in Patricia Russel’s talk is on Ruth and Naomi in the bible (Building Good In-Law Relationships By Patricia Russell). Even though these two women were only family through marriage, the love and devotion they had to one another is a perfect example of what our relationships can and should be with our in-laws. Easier said than done right? Right.

So in order to have in-laws, we need to have a spouse! And the idea of marriage has been in God’s plan since day one. Cue Adam and Eve!

Adam and Eve are my ultimate role models of how to create a good marriage. If you are in a jam, it seems that these two have the answers. In Genesis 2 the Lord creates man. After creating Adam, the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam and out of Adam’s rib, he created Eve. This scripture follows, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). To cleave means to be loyal, devoted, and steadfast. It is important for husbands and wives to heed this counsel and apply it in their marriage. Adam wasn’t complete until he had a wife and vice versa. It wasn’t that Adam was complete with God, his father.

The role of mother, father, son and daughter cannot be expected to stay the same when a child gets married. Parents will need to give up their previous roles and allow independence. However, the couple will need to realize that there are previous relationships that existed before they came along and that even though this will change, the change won’t be a onetime thing.

As a couple, you have to create your own marriage identity. Kind of like how Nephi took the vision and got his own interpretation out of it; couples can take what they have been taught and decided for themselves what will define them as “one flesh.” President Spencer W. Kimball talked about the following three things: a couple needs to confide and counsel with each other, a couple needs to establish their household separately from parents, and a couple needs to prayerfully consider counsel from outside sources together. This will help you and your spouse define boundaries. In Helping and Healing our Families it states, “It helps a…married couple to think of themselves as existing together inside an invisible fence” p.328. So information stays in and people stay out.

This is really tough to do. In my life, sometimes this isn’t possible. My hubby works for his parents. He talks to and sees them at least twice as much as he does me. There is communication that goes on between them that I cannot be a part of; business and personal communication. So not only does that happen, but he is so busy that I cannot get a hold of him to communicate as much as I may think necessary for our relationship. It is a heavy burden to bear. But I am grateful for how wonderful we do communicate when time is made… and for how much sacrifice I know it sometimes is for my hubby to listen to my incessant phone calls :)

This invisible fence that is created needs to be discussed often to protect, maintain and heal if needed. I think especially for women (and especially for me in my situation), this fence is really important to give women a sense of security in marriage. Especially for them to feel that they are not in the fenced area alone and their hubby in a fenced area with his parents.

Sometimes there are intrusions between parents and children (a couple) into this invisible fence. Intrusions can be physically (coming over too much) and emotionally (opinions and expectations). Enmeshment is when parents and children feel they always have to be together and there is no room for excuses. It can cause lots of strife and burden in the pressure of making it to family events if a family is enmeshed. If something like this is happening , it is more likely that parents are dealing with their emotional issues and you aren’t the issue. So what can you do if enmeshment is happening? An option comes from Helping and Healing Families. It says, “they (children) may want to express love and gratitude, explain they have a need to further strengthen their couple identity, and explain how the expectations for being together with the family are getting in the way of their couple relationship.” Do this in a respectful and humble manner.

So what can parents do or not do to strengthen their relationships with their in-laws and adult children? Gloria Horsley in The In-law Survival Manual: A Guide to Cultivating Health In-law Relationships says parents can strengthen that relationship by avoiding these things:

  1. 1- giving advice
  2. 2- criticizing
  3. 3- pinning down children in-law as to the specific reasons they are missing a family event
  4. 4- taking over discipline of grandchildren
  5. 5- trying to control everyone and everything including children in-law’s beliefs
  6. 6- indirect and unclear communication

If a parent-in-law does things right the effect can be eternally positive and long felt. What are the right things? I am sure as a parent-in-law, you don’t feel like you can do anything right. Well, I am sure your daughter-in-law or son-in-law feels the same way. Being mindful and respecting their different backgrounds, beliefs and standards is a good start. Not feeling defensive that they married your son/daughter. Don’t expect them to do things the way you do… it might be nice to share with them what you have done as a family (traditions, routines, etc). Give them space and “open the doors” to your world and let them come in. Don’t force them to do something they have reservations about. Prayerfully consider when to step in and when to allow space.

What can you do as a child and in-law to strengthen your relationships with your spouse’s and your own family? First, you need to set boundaries for what is allowed. This is to be done together between you and your spouse. Don’t have your spouse be the go between for you and your in-laws!!! It causes mistrust and can damage future growth of relationships. Contacting your families together regularly is also important; it shows that your relationship with them is something you value. When you are comfortable, disclose personal information that will open their eyes to who you are and what you believe. Communicate openly, accept differences, and use empathy to further these relationships.

Overall, I believe that the most important thing for both parents and married children to use is forgiveness and repentance. With each new marriage comes new experiences, trials, and joys. We are not perfect and therefore, you cannot expect them to be perfect. We can let these things hinder us, or make us stronger. How much more joy we can feel if we open our hearts to new growth and love.

So how is your relationship with your parents and in-laws? What can you do to strengthen that relationship?

I know that the family unit is ordained of God. It has been established since day one with Adam and Eve and is meant to be a central focus of this earthly life. Our relationships are eternal and we have to develop them into the kind of relationships that are positive… now. Not waiting for the other to initiate the growth. You need to step in. Create that imaginary fence with your spouse so that security is fastened and then you can pursue your other relationships knowing that you and your spouse are on the same page and will support one another.

Remember the Lord commanded us to leave our parents and cleave unto our spouse. What can you do today to cleave?

Further Reading and Resouces

The Proclamation to the World: the Family

Helping and Healing our Families: Chapter 37 Edited by Craig H. Hart, Lloyd D. Newell, Elaine Walton, and David C. Dollahite

Strengthening Our Families: An in-Depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family Edited by David C. Dollahite

Building Good In-Law Relationships by Patricia Russell

The In-law Survival Manual: A Guide to Cultivating Health In-law Relationships by Gloria Horsley


parenting–the story of the sunglasses

my daughter loves these… and can I say L-O-V-E-S them! it is really the only thing that she regularly needs for home and the car.

today we ran errands… and the glasses, of course, came along.

lately I have been listening to Parenting with  Love and Logic, yet again. I pull this thing out like every 4 months. Learning how to parent isn’t a one time thing people!

So I suggested A leave her toys and glasses in the car while we went into the first store. since I left it up to her, she chose to bring her glasses in the store. I told her that since she chose to bring them in, they were her responsibility and I wouldn’t hold them. she sure did well keeping them on her person for the first little while… and even got compliments from the clerks there.

we checked out and headed back to the car. we got in and turned out of the parking lot… and then the crying began. she had left her glasses somewhere in the store! couldn’t tell me where and I didn’t remember where… my natural mother was kicking in and I was ready to turn around.

HOWEVER, Love and Logic to the rescue… I realized that I wasn’t approaching this right. If I turned around, I would not only have to unpack us all (screaming baby too) and be 1/2 behind, but she wouldn’t learn anything from that. So I kept driving… instead of taking the problem onto myself, I needed to keep out of it. I couldn’t solve this for her. As she cried for her glasses, my heart broke. I wanted to cry with her. I was genuinely sorry for her, and I made sure to tell her that I was so sorry she was feeling this way. Truly I was!

So I asked her what she thought she needed to do about it and her answer was, “we can see if they have them next time we go with my daddy.” so sweet and so sincere. Of course I would check next time we went… which will be like tomorrow (Hobby Lobby does that to me).  Then she asked to call Mima and tell her about it.

So will she actually learn from this? Love and Logic says that she will.

I am happy to say, the story doesn’t stop here… to Target we went. When she was getting out of the car, she had a toy in her hand. Again I suggested (not told, because that would just cause a power struggle) she leave her toy in the car and didn’t even mention the past episode. She told me, “Don’t worry mom, I won’t loose this one.” So I let her bring it in…

She held onto that thing the WHOLE time! And I am happy to say, the toy made it home. So yes, lesson learned.

*Here is the disclaimer about this parenting lesson- as I started typing this, my heart softened yet again. I started feeling so bad about my choice to not go back and get the sunglasses. Second guessing, I called my mom and asked her if I did the right thing. But she shed light on the situation again- it is painful to watch your children deal with consequences of their choices. But if you step in now, you may always step in. This has been hard… I sort of felt like, if I left something somewhere as an adult, I would have the independence to go back and get the object. As a child, there isn’t that independence to just turn around and go get it… so how rude am I? But for me, I am constantly thinking about the items that I am taking with me and I have learned responsibility. She hasn’t quite learned that yet. I decided that it was better she learn this with a pair of sunglasses now, then with an MP3 player in 5 years.

Hard. Hard. Hard.

**Next disclaimer… just because I used Love and Logic fairly well this time, doesn’t mean I remember to use it all the time. I am so not perfect… for example, last night I snapped at a to give me the GPS and she replied, “mom, I am just finding how to get home.” Ooo… she was totally just helping… my bad. And then I apologized. I was so in the wrong and was so selfish in my impatience.

Have you ever stayed out of a situation with your child to help them learn? Or are you stepping in too much? If you are stepping in too much, your challenge is to leave the problem and solution to your child, but show and do it kindly and with empathy.


berry trifle

This is the recipe to the trifle that I have made HUNDREDS of times because it is SO easy and so good!!! You will be licking the bowl… promise!  I like to let Abi help me too. she is great at breaking the angel food cake and licking the beaters :)IMG_9302


2- 8oz pkg of cream cheese

2 c. powdered sugar

1 c. sour cream

2 small cont. cool whip

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp almond

cream together sugar, cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla and almond

either two bags of frozen berries or use fresh (that is what I do)

1 1/2 angel food cakes broken into pieces

layer cake, fruit, and cream mixture


parenting–teens - it’s not just you


situation 1: my mom chats with me over gmail this past week. she told me all about her struggles trying to layout and organize the expectations and schedule for this coming school year. she has just my younger brother left at home and he is a senior (yikes!) anyway, she was distraught because she felt like nothing she said penetrated that thick skulled teenager (my words, not hers :). she felt down and defeated because a couple of days previous, she and I discussed Love and Logic principles to help her out in this situation… letting him choose consequences, laying out the rules of the family so there are not questions to be asked, deciding on how to go about the process of answering all the w questions when he goes out (who, what, where, why, etc). she felt good about what she decided to do about it and I knew just from talking to her that her intentions were spot on with trying to set things so there wasn’t problems in the coming months. let’s just say, it was a complete fail! I felt so bad for her…

situation 2: I took my sweet family to Ross to get some much needed shoes for the hubby and a birthday gift for little miss A who turned three on Saturday. Here we are at the shoe rack and I am suggesting a whole bunch of good looking pairs of shoes to my hubby… who is unresponsive to my suggestions. then we overheard this conversation between a mother and teenage son…

mom- have you looked at these (pointing at the size 11 rack)

son- yes mom (kind of put out)

mom- what about these (holding up a really nice pair of shoes, but after looking at the boy, DEFINITELY not his style)

son- moooom! DON’T choose shoes for me!

My hubby and I looked at eachother and smirked, but I realized the truth… and stopped suggesting pairs of shoes to my hubby.

As the girls in the family moved on to the toys, leaving dad behind, my thoughts turned to my mom. I wanted her to hear this conversation so bad! it made me realize that we really aren’t alone as we think we are. she just wanted to throw in the towel on trying to be a good parent. but as I have thought about this, I would rather have my children remember that I was suggesting shoes that weren’t in their style than having them remember that I wasn’t available to take them shoe shopping for school. I hope these situations can lift the souls of those who need strength to keep going.

“Discipline is doing what you know needs to be done even though you don’t want to”

Keep it up mothers!


a successful family

Eternal Families are central to God’s plan. Every person who comes to earth gains not only a but also comes into a “family” by a mother and father. Understood that we all have different backgrounds and circumstances, but these two things are universal for every person. It all started with Adam and Eve… they were brought together as a family to grow a family.

In a family, we learn some of the most important things we need in this life and for the next life… we learn how to become more like our Heavenly Father. Harold B. Lee taught, “The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.”

The devil tries with all his might to break up families… and how successful he seems! He seeks to destroy families by drawing them away from God. He will tempt us to do things that draw our families apart. In my life right now I can see this happening so literally. My hubby has been working two hours away. It started off as once a week (about 2 months ago)and now it is 5 days a week. In order to not have a 4 hours commute daily, he has been staying up next to his work in an RV and will come home on the weekends. As we have struggled and talked about all our options for how to keep our family together, I have felt these thoughts creep into my head that him being gone for the whole week is the best thing ever… and we shouldn’t do anything about our situation in getting closer to one another. But I know this isn’t the right thing… so I continue to look for housing that will fit our needs. I don’t want to move (not one bit) but will do it for my family. (For those who know me, this isn’t the first time I have moved to save my family).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has declared that, “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities” (ensign, november 1995, pg 102). This is a list that can take lots and lots of work… our whole lives and some to accomplish! It can seem overwhelming… which in most cases it does with me. But here are some things that will help us feel happy in our families and will probably accomplish a lot of accomplishing the principles above.

How to have a Successful Family:

1. Have family prayer every night and morning - 3 Nephi 18:21. Pray together as husband and wife

2. Teach children the gospel every week in family home evening

3. Study the scriptures regularly as a family

4. Do things together as a family such as work, projects, outings, and decision making

5. Learn to be kind, patient, long-suffering, and charitable – Moroni 7:45-48

6. Attend church meetings regularly – D&C 59:9-10

7. Follow the counsel of the Lord in D&C 88:119: “Organize yourselves, prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.”

8. Keep a family history, perform temple work together, and receive the sealing ordinances of the temple.


So will you do today and this week to help to achieve success in your family? Choose one or two of these things above and focus on them this week! I would love to hear what you are doing or plan to do this week…



To all my friends who use pinterest!!! I don’t know of a better way to get a hold of most of you except to post something on here…

I have loved this site and have gotten so inspired by it; however, I have noticed that there are people posting a lot of images and quotes that are offensive to the spirit. I have tried to screen them out, but there is no way to make a search safe. Not only that, but the user agreement states that pins should be clean…

Please help me keep this site clean by writing a complaint to Pinterest! hi@pinterest.com

Thanks much!

If you need some help constructing a letter, this is what I wrote:

Dear Pinterest:

I love your website! I am a pinning addict! However, over the past couple of weeks I have noticed an increasing amount of offensive photos being pinned on your website. There is no way to flag them or to screen them out of my searching. I am contemplating leaving pinterest because I don't want to look at any type of photo or quote that uses profane language or is pornographic. I have loved being a member, but don't want these images, suggestions, and statements in my head. 

I read your statement of use and each person who gets an account agrees not to pin offensive photos or quotes... but this isn't being enforced. Please do something so that I and others can enjoy a clean, worry-free website!


Claire Thomas


grab your firebolt!!!

This is the funniest thing I have seen in so long! I laughed out loud! And for those that read my post last week… that was a hard task to accomplish.

Fav part: when the guy books it for platform 9 3/4…. so great!

necklaces for the ball

A’s friend S (4 years old) came over yesterday and we make pasta necklaces that I had found to do in the Family Fun magazine… I love that magazine. The girls made them to “go to the ball.” here they are getting ready to go…


making the necklaces…


Dried pasta soaks up food coloring remarkably well. The finished "beads" are easy for little hands to string into necklaces.

  • dried pasta
  • 2 teaspoons of vinegar
  • 10 to 12 drops of food coloring
  • ziplock bag
  • yarn and twist tie
  • paper towels
  1. For each color, mix about 2 teaspoons of vinegar with 10 to 12 drops of food coloring (we used both regular and neon colors) in a ziplock bag.

  2. Add 1/2 cup of dried pasta (we used ziti and rigatoni) to each bag and shake it to cover the pasta with dye. Leave the pasta in the dye for about 5 minutes, shaking it occasionally.

  3. Next, spoon the pasta out of the bag, placing it on paper towels. After about 15 minutes, turn the pasta pieces over. Let them dry completely. I used a blow dryer to speed things up :)

  4. Tie one pasta piece to the end of a length of yarn to act as a stopper. For a simple needle, fold a twist tie around the other end of the yarn and twist its ends to secure.


talented women

I have been blessed to be surrounded by some many talented women in my life- here are some things that they have created.

This receiving blanket and burp cloth were made by my aunt. I love the mitered edges and the rick-rack


Then this is my mom’s glory! She is SO amazing and I wish I was as talented as she is in sewing. Isn’t this blanket just stunning? IMG_8423IMG_8424

This is such a good show of the quilting… hearts in a paisley pattern… love it!IMG_8425

These were some simple gauzy blankets that I threw together that will be great for this summer. They were easy to make… just some satin ribbon sewn around the edges to finish them off. I love the white one that is eyelet. IMG_8431

This is another one of my mom’s doings. Don’t you LOVE the fabric and it feels so amazing! I love good fabric!IMG_8437

I love the decorative stitching…IMG_8438IMG_8439

This is my hubby’s favorite set… again from my mom. IMG_8441IMG_8444

My mom was thinking smart and made me some mitered edge blankets that are only one sided. These will help with swaddling in the heat. IMG_8447

This photo shows the back side of the white blanket. So classy and beautifully sewn. IMG_8448

Then this beauty is something I CANNOT wait to get little miss B into. My good friend Anna made it after I sent some photos over to her. She has an etsy shop here if you are interested….IMG_8450

Then little miss A got a package from Mima (my mom) this past week with a whole bunch of items for her baby- this flannel blanket she even quilted… so cute!IMG_8451IMG_8452IMG_8454

Then another mitered blanket… I just had to share photos of it because I LOVE the dancers. I want something out of it… pj bottoms would be fantastic!


Then she sent over this genius play wipes case with wipes! A is always using real wipes and so this is the perfect solution to her wiping everyone’s bum… even her kitty’s and trying to do ours… that always catches us off guard!IMG_8458IMG_8460IMG_8464IMG_8467IMG_8468


have a berry wonderful flag day

little miss A and I were busy in the kitchen this morning doing yet another craft/activity out of the July issue of Family Fun magazine! These are so easy and look so cute! I have to say that it takes a lot for me to just let little miss A do her own thing and not have my strawberries look like the ones in the magazine. At least I was able to do these three before I let her do her own.

I would love to do some next time with star sprinkles!



stressed to get dressed

Years two and three for a toddler are tough… and tough on you too. One of the many things that we face is our child’s growing independence. This isn’t such a bad thing, but I find that it tests my patience in ways that I wasn’t expecting. For a while, we were dealing with a toddler who didn’t want to get dressed in the mornings… and then only wanted to wear her princess dress-ups. At times, I didn’t care about this, but other times really strained me! It was only 8 am and my endurance was lost for the day… and so was my toddler’s!

I came across a little blurb out of Parents magazine in May that I wanted to share with you. As we implemented them into our routine, it really helped us get ready and stay in good moods!

Start them Sleepy – The article says that dressing your child when they first get up and before they can get out of their room will help things go more smoothly. When they have time to run around and play first, then they seem to be about to resist more.

Give lots of Loves – take some time to cuddle with your toddler to give a gradual wake up and help get their mood off on the right track. You could sing a song, read a book, or just cuddle.

Be Silly- make getting dressed a game. Put the shirt on your head or on your toddler’s feet – then let them correct you. It will help them not only laugh but feel in control – don’t we all like to feel in control?

For my husband and I, we find that these tactics work good on different occasions. Especially with my being pregnant, I can’t always get up before our toddler does so cuddling works great; however, when I have places to be the sleepy one works great. My husband, he loves the silly one, but that is his nature and it seems to work every time!


celebrate independence

I saw this cute idea in the Family Fun magazine for July and had to create one of my own. I LOVE this magazine and get so many ideas from it. However, this month’s issue was LOADED with fun things to do. I made a list and me and Little Miss A are going to do them all… hopefully before Little Miss B gets here next week! So I guess you could say that it is wishful thinking :)

This was SO EASY! In the magazine, they just have the garland glued to a Styrofoam circle. I felt it a little too juvenile… maybe it was the photo of the garland. So I tried to find something to fit my tastes and I found what I needed at Hobby Lobby! Most dangerous store ever!

We took a wreath frame, wrapped some fun garland around the frame and hot glued it in place. (it took us two 9’ strands) and glued in a cute Fourth of July pick. This was a great activity for my daughter to do and she felt so proud of her creation.


It cost me about $8.00 to make. But what was fun was actually getting A’s opinion on the garland and the pick and letting her help me. So nice!


picky eaters or parenting fail

it sure has been a while since I have posted about family… this was posted to a community blog I am a member of.

I hear a lot of parents talk about their kids being picky eaters. Did you know that it is normally the parents’ fault? Think about it. If your child starts complaining about what you are eating at dinner and you get up, and prepare a whole different meal for your child… you just initiated a picky eater. Next time around, your child is going to do the same thing and then you will be known as a short order cook… always making special dishes for each member of your family. And just think about doing this for two or three different kids! Yikes!

On average, it takes a toddler 25 times of having a food placed in front of them before they will like it and even try a bite of it! That is a lot of times! So if your toddler doesn’t eat their broccoli the first time, or even second time… keep trying! Just one or two pieces of what you are serving will suffice too!

So to get your child to eat unique foods… we call them fruits and veggies… here are some extra tips-

· Involve- have your child help you prepare your meals/snacks. We always have our daughter wash the fruits and veggies. Something that she can do for her age. She also loves to help me add the spices to our meals. I am amazed at what we can get her to try and even like if she has invested her time into the preparation.

· Snacks- This is even a good tip for me! I always try to leave out a bowl of fruits and veggies on the counter or in the fridge that our daughter has free reign to. If she wants a snack that is what she eats. It also makes her feel like she is independent and can make her own food choices.

· Different versions- if your child won’t eat a raw version try steamed…

· Creativity- I have a wonderful book called Deceptively Delicious that is all recipes with hidden fruits and veggies. Our favorite is Mac and Cheese made with cauliflower and the avocado cupcakes.

· Variety and repetition- my last to tips that can really help…


one for my girls

this is the one I had inspiration for and have decided to keep (and not post to etsy, sadly for my hubby). I am very, very, very pleased with it and think it is the perfect addition to my nursery!



I love the polka dot vellum… which really surprised me how much I like it!