Seeking Virtue

Birthday time for me is a time of reflection (well, and a little celebration)  :).  It’s perfect that my birthday falls half-way through the year.  I like to take a few moments to see how my beginning of the year goals are going.  While visiting the Church Art Museum last year this quilt spoke to my heart:

My current scripture study is about treasure.  I decided this quilt is the perfect treasure map for me here and now.

The title is “Angel’s Portion:  Seeking Virtue”.  Angel’s Portion meaning big – this quilt is beautiful and pulls me right in.  The story quilt shows seven ladies – “each shown in an active pursuit of virtue”.  I love the “active pursuit” part.  It takes effort to become more virtuous and to seek after virtuous things – ideas, talents, and gifts.  True treasures.

A tender mercy is the fact that this quilt is in the Ensign for June – my birthday month and a perfect reminder to check in.  {front view of the quilt | full article in the Ensign}

In the article it says “Each of these women possesses a trait that can be shared with others to bless humanity:  sentinel, scholar, gardener, nurturer, caregiver, musician, and home builder. The artist explains that these women “honor those who pursue and use talents to bless humanity.'”  Is there any better way to live?

Here is a list of the goals I’m working on in these areas:

  • Sentinel –  Work on leadership qualities:  magnify calling, love those I serve, pray for those I teach and visit.
  • Scholar – Learn more about Teaching Self Government – and apply in my home.  Study photography.
  • Gardener – Help with the Heritage Gardens.  Grow a garden – especially herbs.
  • Nurturer – Tell stories!  Especially family history ones and stories from my childhood.  Consistant interviews with my children.  Pizza dough tossing and doodling/sketching skills.
  • Caregiver –  Monthly FHE service.  Look for opportunities.
  • Musician –  Teach children piano, guitar, drums – what each is interested in and keep up and learn musical talents in those areas.  Also accept opportunities as presented to play flute and sing.
  • Home Builder – Hang family photos and temple pictures throughout our home.  Paint living room and dining room.  Proverbs 14:1  ” Every wise woman buildeth her house.” (A lot of the previous goals fit into building our home.)

Some are coming together better than others – all with room to improve.

I want my goals to focus on seeking virtue and using skills to love and bless my family.  I’m thankful for a quote that jumped out to me while reading President Monson’s talk from General Conference.  It wraps my thoughts into a nice package.  A birthday package even.  “There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save.”

Party Time!

Hippo Birdy to JessicaSprague.com!!

So many ways to celebrate this week:

So much goodness – it’s a beautiful thing.  Click here or on the above image for additional details on what’s happening.

My two favorite celebrations?  The free class taught by Jessica all week long and the speed scrap hosted by Mandi at 7 am on Thursday.  We’ll be up late the night before for Pageant dress rehearsal, but I’m still gonna try to get in on that one – how fun!

{To register for Jessica’s class, simply copy this code: PSTOP52012  – And click here to enter it: http://www.jessicasprague.com/index.php?option=com_juga&view=juga&Itemid=111 .  Come learn and play with me!  :)}

Cake and Kisses Celebration

A little reading…

A little exercise…

And a little eating…

Our Nurses Day Celebration was so fun!

We started out with Jacob reading about Florence:

Autumn looks so contemplative.  I think Andrew is meditating.

See Inside Your Body is always a favorite:

The heart page in honor of Anna.  :)  Four chambers of flaps to explore!

A nursing obstacle course was also enjoyed.

The stations were to run get a drink of water, run back to put hand sanitizer on, and finally put a band-aid on Daddy.

Here they are all lined up, ready to start.

I love that Caleb is distracted with his licorice.

And Katey -oh, Katey.  Can’t resist dancing in the line-up.

We talked about the proper way to put on band-aids – without touching the sterilized pad so it was good practice and a mite tricky for the little ones.

Such concentration.

Thankfully Jim Bob was such a good sport!

He almost needed real life medical attention.  :)

As we walked across the park that evening, Jacob leaned over and said “Drinking water, chewing gum and helping people… I think nursing could be a good job.”

Cheeky Kisses

I treasure these moments with my little one.

One of my favorite treasure quotes:

“The most precious jewels you will ever have around your neck are the arms of your children.”

I also treasure my hunny that is patient enough to get the shots that I have in my head.

Cheeky kisses to you all!

Documented: the Month of Love

While I’m finishing up series – here’s the continuation of the month of love:  week 1.  You ready to feel the love?

During a lesson at church we were challenged to show love everyday for the whole month leading up to Valentine’s Day. Simple or grand, well thought out or spontaneous – show love. The other aspect was to share child-like love – whole-hearted. Cute notes on pillows, weed bouquets, prayers, hugs and big kisses… a whole month of love.

Our second week:
* shared Meri photos on Facebook w/ family and friends
* bathed and snuggled baby
* Pinewood Derby! – Jacob & Josh both rocking it – and cheering each other on :)
* read LOTS of books to K&C
* wished Happy Birthday to brother, mother & sister (it’s a good month! :) )
* baked cookies for family and Jacob’s classroom store
* cleaned girls’ room – beauty!

{supplies here}

Third week:

* snuggled and tickled
* visited “Grandpa and Grandma Missionary”
* Pizza Friday night (first time since the baby was born)
* read Little Britches
* took black beans for a “Cafe Rio” style lunch with a group of ladies – love to me!
* made pomegranate muffins
* prayed for second cousin in the ER
* foot rubs for Daddy, Jacob and Caleb (they just lined right up! 😉 )
* volunteered to make Humanitarian Center newsletter
* JB made yummy breakfast on Saturday morning
* Autumn led story hour

{supplies here}

Week 4:

* took dinner (chili and heart shaped cinnamon rolls) to a family with a deployed daddy
* let JB sleep the whole night (baby did not :) )
* made pumpkin pie for the boys (with their pumpkins grown by their aunt)
* helped neighbor clean her house for a son’s visit
* played chess with Jacob
* read Dickens & made notebooks to celebrate his birthday
* cake pops for secret snack in sack lunches
* friends day after hiatus & ham/pineapple pizza
* JB watch sick little ones during church (I took notes – Bro. Christensen’s talk on grace.)
* all pink load of laundry (with now 4 girls in the house…)

{supplies here}

My sweet friend Mandi pointed out that these are probably things that I do on a regular basis (most are…), but that doing them with intention gives the actions more meaning.  It’s true.  I’m thankful for this project for that reason.  And for the fact that I would probably never have taken a photo of our laundry otherwise…

Cake and Kisses

Happy International Nurses Day – and Happy Birthday Florence Nightingale.

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Our plans for Nurses Day, made with Paper.

My sis Anna has a blog.  She’s wonderful, sweet, adventurous, an amazing baker and a nurse.  We all adore her.  So we are celebrating Nurses Day in her honor (wish you were here sis!).

We will read posts about nursing, a Florence Nightingale book and run around the park a little.  I’m also serving a buffet, based on this collage made by Anna:

While they might be daily staples for our nursing aunt – quick and can be eaten on-the-go, most are rare treats for our children and they’re a little excited.  😉  It’s going to be fun.

Recommended posts (there are so many to love!):  History of Nurses Week, Birthday Cake for Florence, Why I became a Nurse link-up (Anna’s story and a dozen others linked up), and all the Nursing Tuesday posts are great.  I really like the ones on capes (who knew??), and band-aids.

There’s also a post she wrote for LA Family:

… and don’t forget her nursing giveaway (ends tonight though, so hurry on over.  😉 ).

From what I read about Florence – she was so kind and gentle.  She trained nurses and worked near battlefields in Turkey.  She would walk the wards at night and soothe the suffering men.  They would see her “lantern moving through the dark like a comforting angel and named her the Lady with the Lamp.”  She adjusted pillows and put flowers by their beds.  The soldiers she cared for adored her – when she walked by some would lean out of their beds to kiss her shadow.  She researched nursing throughout her life and wrote about the importance of fresh air and a quiet and peaceful ward.  Florence’s Notes on Nursing:  what it is and what it is not became a best-seller.  After nursing, Florence continued her research and helped in many areas. She set up a training school for nurses.  She interviewed each herself and followed their progress.  She sent flowers and books to them – and cake on their birthdays.

Nurses – caring, beautiful, kind and sent cake for birthdays?  Florence and Anna have a lot in common.

Fiesta!

Plans for tomorrow:
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{made with Paper – sweet app by 53}

I. L. Y.

…. / .— / .——. / .——. / —.——// —— / ——— / .—. / … / . // —.—. /——— / —.. / .  // —.. / .— / —.——//  (Happy Morse Code Day!)

It’s the birthday of Samuel Morse and a fine day to celebrate.  We had friends over for Friend’s Day.  Our treat:

I L Y (for I Love You.  😉 ):

We spelled initials and whatever else desired.  We used the Morse Code card from this set:  50 Secret Codes for reference.

I love that the history of the codes are given on the back.  Boy’s Life magazine also has a Morse Code Machine where you can try your hand at listening to or transmitting Morse Code.

Our date night version:

This made me all sorts of giddy.  Our first name initials.  J & B – opposites attract.  😉

Happy Celebrations!

I O U

Dear Birthday Boy,

I know all you wanted for your birthday was hugs, kisses and a bike ride with me.  Although those are good and you’ll definitely get them, I had additional plans.  I had a feeling your big birthday present wouldn’t make it in time for the big day – today!  I was right.  In anticipation of that, I decided to get an additional happiness with two day shipping.  That was last Thursday.  I received an email letting me know your present would not arrive until tomorrow.  :(  So today you’re getting a big fat I.O.U..  Then I got to thinking about all the things I owe you for already.  There’s a list.

I owe you:

* For helping around the house.  You juggle baby dancing, changing a dirty diaper and cleaning the toilet while in the same hour talking to clients and fixing text on a webpage.  And that was just this morning.

And look at you – super fuzzy hero cape.  I like.

* For keeping a varied soundtrack playing in our home.   A little U2, a little Kenny, a little MoTab.  I mention liking an artist (like Andy Grammer) and next thing I know “Keep Your Head Up” is playing for a lunch date and days later I hear this one playing while you’re working:

{psst… It’s fine by me if we always ride bikes together and share fruit juice over crushed ice late at night.  Forever.}

* For reading my blog.  And sometimes even commenting.  You keep up on what I enjoy and encourage my craziness.  Whether it’s trying to stuff as much photography knowledge in my head as possible to diligently reading the parenting class manual for church.  I love you for loving me so completely.

* For tolerating the camera going everywhere.  And for planning fun dates with the Elder’s Quorum – where you rock the bowling and I photograph us in color blocked shoes.

* For coaxing the sweetest smiles from our little ones when I’m taking photos.

{behind the scenes}

You are so patient… and look at these results.

Looks like the finger wrapping works both ways.  😉

* For letting me off easy on birthday meals & treats.  Honestly, I’m not buying the reason that you picked leftover biscuits and fresh pineapple for breakfast is because it is a “favorite”.  And while you love lasagna, I have got to think that part of the reason you picked it is that there is one in the fridge ready to bake.  Now shaved ice for dessert.  That one, while easy, might be legit.

So here’s to celebrating your birthday all week long as the presents roll in.  Starting with the sucker I got at the bank today.

After all, I owe you.

Easter Weekend

Jim Bob and I spent some time this week talking about Easter traditions.  We want our celebrations, especially on Easter Sunday, to focus more on the Savior.

Seeking and finding is good.  We like that principle a lot.  Easter egg hunts are fun and our children enjoy the rewards.  Our town has a massive “hunt” each Easter Saturday.  I love that it is on Saturday.  Candy and eggs are everywhere with prizes from local businesses.  It’s fun and looks a little like this:

  

Some of this:

  

and a little more of this:

Later in the afternoon we held a family counsel to discuss Easter traditions.   I am realizing more and more the need for simple in our traditions.  If something is too involved then it either doesn’t get done (and I feel guilty) or gets done poorly (and I’m disappointed).  Both not good outcomes and not what celebrating holidays is about.  Especially this one.  Some traditions from the past just don’t work anymore and that is completely okay.  Even better in some ways.

In our discussing we learned that everyone loves the idea of a nice dinner on Sunday.  Works for me. (We eat at Grandma’s house and bring a side dish – so very doable.  😉 ).  The little ones also love the idea of doing an egg hunt at home on Saturday.  We were a little concerned about the amount of sugar already consumed.  Jacob suggested having a hunt in which the prizes were extra stars for their chore charts.  That way they can decide how to spend the stars.  Some like to use it for time on the computer or staying up 1/2 hour late while others save up for books and camping trips. (No one liked my idea of having a chore egg hunt with wonderful chore papers hidden in each colorful egg for the discoverer to accomplish.  Although in jest for celebrating the holiday, this idea could be fun for the summertime, when extra chores are “assigned” anyway.)  The hunt was a hit.  And simple for us.  We hid empty eggs and then let them know that after the hunt we would tell them how many “stars” each color of egg was worth.

Love the obvious hiding spots…

and the not-so-obvious ones too.

In future years amounts of stars could be hidden in each egg.  This year we kept it simple.  At the end, each egg was worth 3 stars and their favorite color eggs were worth 10.  The big “golden egg” was worth 100 stars.  Sweet Miss Katey found that one… in Jim Bob’s pocket.  ha!  A little math (never hurts) and they had their totals.

Although fun, we don’t want these to be our children’s only memories of Easter.

Today we also talked about those in our family that have died.  People our children know and love.  A father/grandpa.  And those they have not met in this life.  My brother/their uncle.  Grandpas/Grandmas from Jim Bob’s and my childhoods.  We will get to see them all again because of Jesus and his sacrifice.

Tomorrow’s egg hunt will be much different.

This year we will be looking for eggs similar to these:

A huge thank you to Mandi for sharing and preparing this Christ-focused tradition.  Her post has all the details, as well as the download with scriptures and references to print and put in your own eggs.  It includes the signs of Christ’s death from the Book of Mormon as well.  I think we’ll also include his appearance to the Americas – it’s my very favorite part of the Book of Mormon – especially 3 Nephi chapter 17, when Jesus blesses all the children.  Heavenly.

Here’s a closer look at the contents of the eggs:

So well thought out and designed.  Although it’s wonderful to have all the visual lessons, the eggs can also be done with just the scriptures if short on supplies or time.  Such a beautiful way to more fully teach the meaning of this holiday.

We are also planning on watching this video:

We’ve been watching each new one as it comes out, sometimes in Family Home Evening or on Sunday afternoons.

May your Easter weekend be filled with the glorious hope that comes from a loving Heavenly Father and his son, our Savior.

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