Monday, March 31, 2008

Cousin Matching Game

This post is for Jill, since I heard you wanted more information about the fun little game we created at Easter. It was really so easy! Basically, we just took a picture of each cousin, printed two small copies using iPhoto, mounted them on cardboard coasters, and laminated them with clear contact paper for durability. For the game box, I found some small, square, sturdy, cardboard-type boxes as Michael's for about $2. The kids colored on them and wallah, we had our own cousin matching game!

Playing the game is actually more fun for the kids than I had imagined. Caleb made a funny face for his picture, so every time the kids turn his picture over, they burst out laughing. And they are all squeals when they turn their own picture over or get a match of a "favorite" cousin. It's really cute.

I got one set of coasters from Chilis, when I was there a few months ago. I had been thinking about making a matching game with the kids' pictures and was trying to decide if I should use cardboard, or card stock, or what. Then, I saw their coasters (the drink kind) and I thought they were perfect! Our waitress was kind enough to give me some, although I offered to pay her. She got a good tip. Then, I realized I needed more for the other families, so the next time I went out to eat, it was Olive Garden, and they gave me some of theirs! Chilis has square coasters, Olive Garden has round ones. We ended up covering the backs of the Olive Garden coasters with patterned contact paper, since there were pictures of alcohol on them. After we finished, I realized that we probably could have purchased an inexpensive matching game and just used those game pieces, adding our own pictures. However, it would probably be just as easy to use card stock. Especially if you're going to laminate them because it makes them stronger. No matter what you decide to use, you want the backs of each card to be identical so the game really works. Let me know if you decide to do it- I'd love to hear how it works for you!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

If you didn't see this one...

I know we're way past Easter, but this one made me laugh out loud. But a little disclaimer for the children- In our house, we prefer the word "bottom."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday

The cutest cousins in the whole world. Preston was blessed today!

Just for the record, I know the flower on Madeline's head is bigger than she is. But she insisted on a flower in her hair and this was the only one that remotely matched. Hilarious.

Easter chicks and bunnies courtesy of IFA

Easter Egg Hunt

Dying Easter Eggs

The Cammacks and Kimballs joined us for dying eggs and an Easter Egg hunt.

St. Patrick's Day fun

For St. Patrick's Day, we dipped marshmallows and cookies in chocolate to make little hats.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Madeline's Stool

Well, it's true, the women I know all love a good tool. They're wonderful. Someday, I'm going to dedicate a post to my favorite tools, because I have many. And now Madeline has discovered this all on her own. She discovered Nana's black stool. It folds up and carries nicely, it has handles on top just perfect for her hands, it is lightweight, and it gets her everywhere she would like to go without having help. I love watching my children gaining their independence and wanting to do everything by themselves. And that is now my sweet 2 year old, Ms. Madeline.

These pictures remind me of a favorite childhood book, "I Can Do It Myself." It's a Sesame Street book and it's all about the things Ernie could do "all by myself."

I can do it myself.

I can carry the stool.

I can comb my hair.

I can get my own drink.

I can get in my high chair.

I can play the piano.

I can turn on the fireplace.

I can reach the light switch.

I can do it myself.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Free Italian Cookbook from Barilla

Hey guys. So I've been on one of my recipe kicks lately, and I've been trying all sorts of new dishes and came across a freebie. You can download this free Italian Cookbook from Barilla. They are donating $1.00 to America's Second Harvest charity for every book downloaded. So, if you're interested, check it out! I could do without the celebrities, but the recipes actually look pretty good.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Tagged- 100 Things About Me

If you want to skip this post, I completely understand. It took me way too long to type it, so I'm sure it will take way too long to read it. I was tagged twice last week by Jessica and Kelly, so I thought this would kill two birds with one stone...

1. I love to eat. In fact, I love so many different foods, I could complete this whole thing just listing them. The short list includes asparagus, salmon, blueberries, gouda, dark chocolate and fresh pineapple. Eating is one of the best pleasures of my life.
2. I hate the process of shaving my legs, but love the feeling of smooth legs afterwards.
3. I love sailing through green traffic lights.
4. I really enjoy cooking, especially if time is not of the essence and my children are content.
5. I love a good parking spot and will drive around at least a few laps until I find one.
6. I think the color violet is ugly.
7. However, the movie The Color Purple is amazing.
8. My favorite movie of all time is Life Is Beautiful.
9. I think Tom Cruise is ugly.
10. So is Tori Spelling.
11. I bite my fingernails and hate it to the point that I am actually considering fake ones.
12. I don’t believe in spanking, but I have.
13. My house is usually deep cleaned (bathrooms and floors scrubbed), but sometimes cluttery.
14. I have a problem with paper piles.
15. I love my hair to be brushed.
16. I am a professional at putting on makeup using the rear view mirror while driving.
17. I pluck my eyebrows at long traffic lights (good lighting outdoors). I owe this fabulous tip to my sister in law, Chelsea.
18. I lived in Segovia, Spain as an exchange student.
19. While there, some random guy I passed on the street, slapped my behind so hard, it left a handprint.
20. The most amazing place I have ever been is the boardwalk in San Sebastian, Spain. Imagine an incredible sunset, a classical quartet, a faint breeze, a pitcher of non-alcoholic sangria, and a really good tan.
21. I am in love with Italy, but have never been there yet.
22. I love shoes and pajamas and have a weakness for buying them in excess.
23. I can hardly resist a good deal.
24. Every time I watch this, I cry.
25. One of the most beautiful things I have seen was a school of dolphins jumping in and out of the water as they migrated south in the Atlantic.
26. I love the treasure hunt of antique shopping.
27. I worked at the TODAY show and yes, I met Katie, Al, Ann, and Matt, and the crew.
28. I met lots of bands and performers for the summer concert series, including Diana Ross, who was a beast.
29. I met and spent time with the Ramseys (think JonBenet) and think they are innocent.
30. I realized I wanted to be a mother (as in full time devotion) while riding the NYC subway. There was a leper on one side of me, and on the other, a nanny with an infant.
31. I’ve had a miscarriage.
32. I’ve had kidney stones.
33. I have psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, which flares up after a throat infection. Weird, I know.
34. I’m usually either cold or hot, physically and figuratively.
35. I love clean, tight sheets.
36. Every night I’m torn between freezing cold toes and the feeling of socks rubbing my sheets. I usually opt for freezing cold toes.
37. I really love cookbooks, meal plans, and recipes, and love to organize them.
38. I am a lister. No, not listener. I like to make lists.
39. I would choose dishes over laundry any day.
40. I love to garden, especially if my hands get in the soil.
41. My happy place is always on a beach with white sand and warm sun.
42. I am enamored with jelly fish.
43. I love the kind of sand that is hard when you step on it, but gives way when you stand still.
44. I have a BA in Journalism.
45. I love to take pictures.
46. One time on a blind date in Tremonton, Utah, I saw a burning meteor fall and land about fifty feet away from us down the mountain. We were all totally stunned. That was a really “I’m really small and insignificant” kind of moment.
47. My tear ducts are inextricably linked to my emotions.
48. I am most ashamed of losing my patience and yelling at my children.
49. I am most proud of working really hard at it and actually becoming much better.
50. My heart has been broken more than once.
51. I memorized the preamble of the Constitution in 5th grade and can still recite it.
52. I walked (crawled, really) across this Roman aqueduct at about three in the morning. The policeman who was patrolling it, never looked up.
53. I am happy to be allergic to cats. They bug me anyway.
54. I like dogs, but not enough to have one.
55. I love to swim, but swimming in the ocean past where the waves break scares me.
56. I hiked in 10 miles and skinny dipped here with five fabulous women.
57. I hiked out in a bikini only to be pelted with hail at about mile 5, with nowhere to hide. We were in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
58. I love to yard sale.
59. I use a vintage Singer Featherweight Sewing machine (fabulous yard sale find) when I sew and I love it.
60. I can’t stop kissing my youngest and beg her to snuggle with me.
61. I love Sunday afternoon naps and my husband who usually protects them for me.
62. I love the smell of campfire smoke.
63. I don’t like snakes or spiders, but I’m absolutely terrified of mice and rats.
64. Gelato is the best thing ever.
65. I can hardly resist beautiful ribbon, fabrics, or paper.
66. I love to make cards and sell them.
67. Earrings are my favorite piece of jewelry. Rings are second. I prefer both in sterling silver.
68. I love to breastfeed, especially after 3 months.
69. After having a baby, I always miss those little kicks and nudges.
70. My hair falls out in clumps after I have a baby, and when it grows back, I have a halo of tiny hairs poking through the rest of my hair. It’s a lovely thing.
71. I have had a c-section and think vaginal is the ONLY way to go if given a choice.
72. I have lived in Utah, Connecticut, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Oklahoma, and North Carolina.
73. I have driven through virtually every other state.
74. I have driven coast to coast (Oregon to North Carolina) with my children. God bless the portable DVD player.
75. I love thunder and lightning storms.
76. I don’t care that much for snow.
77. I eat chocolate every day and I think I’m possibly addicted.
78. I knew I was really a MOM when I realized that one of my favorite things in life is my Toyota Sienna. I know, this is really sad. I am seriously a walking advertisement for the thing.
79. In high school I was a cheerleader, but prefer not to mention this upon first meeting someone. ☺
80. As a poor college student, I worked at McDonalds for one day. I just couldn’t take it.
81. I have been a factory cleaner, a malt shop attendant, an insurance phone rep, a customer service rep, a reporter, a research assistant/producer, a bank teller, and a marketing specialist.
82. Now I am a launderer, a secretary, a chauffer, a chef, a nutritionist, a counselor, a financial analyst, a seamstress, a crafter, a listener, a snuggler, a florist, an interior decorator, a music teacher (prodder), a tutor, an aquarium cleaner, a gardener, a party planner, and a painter. I put Merry Maids to shame.
83. I love to read for pleasure but try not to do it too much, since I have too many other priorities.
84. I have a hard time sleeping in because I keep thinking of all the things I could be doing.
85. I love a good project.
86. I have moved 9 times in 10 years.
87. I am good at complaining.
88. The spring is my favorite season. Full of promise.
89. No kidding, I used to drive one of these. My Datsun B210 hatchback was mustard orange with turtle shell hubcaps. When Shan met me, he thought I must have character because no one would drive that thing otherwise.
90. I love to jetski.
91. One of the best views I’ve experienced is Angel’s Landing in Zion Canyon.
92. I was never afraid of heights until I had kids. Now, I am a nervous wreck on mountains. You should have seen me with my three kids at the Grand Canyon. Psycho mom.
93. I hate wasted time and wasted talent.
94. I really don’t like watching sports on TV, but I have grown to enjoy golf. Go Phil.
95. I am always active in the PTA.
96. Sometimes I hide from my kids in the bathroom. Or my closet.
97. I love to jump on the trampoline.
98. Once I found a tarantula in our house in North Carolina. I seriously froze and Shan had to come home from work.
99. I love holidays and parties and probably make way too much fuss about them.
100. I prefer wood floors to any other floor medium.

Phew! You made it! I tag Kelly, Elizabeth, Chelsea, Jade, Peggy, Jean, Jill, and Rebecca. Go girls, go.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Birthday Surprise FROM Shan

We were able to Skype with Shan on his birthday while he opened our package. We didn't know that he had a birthday surprise for US. Let's just say this is the "before" picture.

And here is Captain Baldie. He said he decided to get a haircut for his birthday. I'm glad he wants to shake it up a bit. He's got such thick hair and it grows so fast, it will all be back in no time. It think he may have started an office trend...
These are the soldiers Shan works with. They are such great men and women. We love you!!!
And this little plastic Army guy has a story. When Shan left, Ryan could hardly stand it. He was going crazy at the airport. He decided to give one of his little plastic Army guys to Shan "so you will remember me." Shan has kept it on his desk the whole time and shows it to Ryan when they talk through the computer. How great is that?
And this little critter really creeps me out. It is actually an Iraqi bat. When Shan told me the story, all I could think of was The Office bat episode. The Iraq version is probably funnier though. The poor thing got trapped in the office and was flying around darting at people's heads. Shan decided to close all the doors and open the one at the end of the hall that led to outside. He propped the door open, and waited. When the bat didn't fly out, he walked back inside, only to see the bat coming straight at him. Needless to say, he beelined out the door and the bat was free. I wish I could have seen it with my own eyes.

Thank You!!!

Shan wrote the following to all...

"Thanks for all your kind birthday emails and presents. It helps me a great deal to know I have such a great family that loves and supports me. I appreciate all the love and support you give Marisa and our children as well. I think she may have the more challenging assignment. Please remember all the families of Soldiers in your prayers. Also please remember the Soldiers that don’t work in an office and may not have the family support that I have in your prayers as well."

Sunday, March 2, 2008

32 Reasons to Celebrate!

On March 3, 1976, Shan Ryan Grimmius was born to Peggy and Doug Grimmius. They loved him long before I did.

Here are 32 reasons we are celebrating the man who is perfect for us...

1. He loves us and makes an effort to show us every day… even across the miles. The phone and SKYPE have been wonderful.
2. His chocolate chip cookies are out of this world. Other specialties include scrambled egg sandwiches and tuna melts.
3. He has become an amazing listener. I am a great talker. Together it all works out…
4. He wrestles with me. (Emma)
5. He is a patriot. Just loves the USA.
6. He is a wonderful employee. The ARMY is lucky to have such a dedicated, hard working, and trustworthy person.
7. Shan is a math wiz. Our taxes are done before I know it, he can figure out five-page math problems, and loves to crunch the numbers and calculate stock value. Pretty amazing. 8. He has a great sense of humor and keeps us laughing.
9. He makes a point to kiss me before he leaves in the morning and when he comes home at night. (I’ve been missing that☺)
10. He is passionate about politics.
11. Shan has “smiley lines.” Crow’s feet to some. I love them.
12. He is a wonderful gift giver. He really takes time to think about the perfect gift and always nails it on the head. As evidenced by the chocolate dipped strawberries delivered last week.
13. Some of his famous words: “You can’t go wrong with quality.”
14. The other day, Madeline was sick and on the couch. She looked at me and said, "Mommy, when daddy comes home, he will snuggle me." He's a good snuggler. (Madeline) 15. Works out every morning, and it's early.
16. Jumps out of airplanes. What more could you want for Pete’s Sake?
17. His first words to me were, “Good morning, Sunshine.”
18. He's easy on the eyes.19. He is an awesome athlete- golf, baseball, basketball, the works. 20. Loves the Lord and tries to do what’s right. He is doing a great job as the Serviceman’s Group Leader for the LDS soldiers at Camp Speicher.
21. He has always been supportive of my ideas- encouraging me to run my own business, go back to school, make a purchase, or whatever the current need may be. 22. Positive and complimentary in general.
23. Has a contagious smile. 24. Easy to be around. Shan is hard to get stressed out and is naturally a patient person.
25. Brings me sushi and other fine cuisine. A food connoisseur at heart.
26. Loves to do yard work and keeps ours looking great.
27. Really cares about his employees and invests himself in their lives.
28. Loves good music. Loves to have dance sessions with the kids. Makes me “concert cds” for my car.29. Reads like a maniac. Anything and everything.
30. Shan is very compassionate and loving to the people he meets. He doesn’t judge others and he doesn’t talk about them behind their backs. It’s just not who he is. I am a better in this area because of his great example.
31. He can break dance! Once, he even won a middle school competition.
32. He takes me hiking, camping, and fishing. (Ryan)
For all these reasons, and so many more, we love you Shan! Have a happy birthday! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo