Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, 5 things to do with your leftover pie

1. Eat it for breakfast

2. Freeze it

3. Give it to your neighbor 

4. Give it to a local fire station

5. Smash it in your face and put the video on YouTube 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The important things in life are not things

i like bread and butter... repost from happydotmom

... i like toast and jam.
Are you singing along with me?

Yesterday, my daughter insisted on spreading her own butter
and I didn't want her to.

It would end up being more butter than bread (and it was... as seen in the above picture).

But it got me thinking
about how "people are more important than things"

She is more important than the wasted butter.

My parents were always really good to us when we broke things.
I remember dropping dishes and feeling really bad when they broke.

But my parents would say things like:
"Things can be replaced."
"No need to feel bad, accidents happen." 
"I'm just glad you didn't get hurt."

In those moments they simultaneously taught me not to put too much value on temporal things
and to be sensitive to the feeling of others.
Oh, I just love them.

You'd think that their great example would naturally rub off on me!!
But no, I have to work at it.

All I know is that when I do remember to show my children that they are more important than things 
it just feels right.  
Now look at how cute she is buttering her bread.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The 2 year old

He held her hand as we descended the middle school stairs.  With my hands finally free I made it to the bottom quickly and watched them move down. One step at a time, lots of chatter on each step, a big smile on her face.

Have you taken a 2 year old down the stairs? You could see it one of two ways. Often, I'm in a hurry and I notice how terribly long it takes to get down.  But from my new perspective I could see my little one's face.  She was glowing with excitement and pride! How fun to go down the stairs with her dad.

I once heard someone say, "I hope I always have a 2 year old in my home."

It completely changed my perspective! How fun toddlers are!! They explore every tiny part of this world with wonder and joy.  They forgive so easily and move on with life so quickly. Yes, they require work and patience, but they offer so much more than they require. Why did it take me so long to see this? I too hope I always have a 2 year old around.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Facing Fear: A lesson from the life of a 6 year old.

When my 6 year old got off the bus she looked a little sad. I asked her how the dress rehearsal for her school play went. She let her older siblings do the talking.

Every year at my children's school, every grade presents a play.  They perform in front of the school for their dress rehearsal and then perform again that same evening for the parents.  It turns out that this year my little girl had a bad case of stage fright.  The older children told me that as soon as the curtains opened they could hear someone crying, loudly.  They wondered who it was and then saw their little sister walking off of the stage to her teacher standing in the wings.

She didn't perform one bit. Didn't even try and sing along with the other kids.

That evening my husband and I considered what we should do about the evening performance.  Should we even take her to the play that night? She didn't want to go.  She was terrified. We didn't want to scar her, making things worse by forcing her to go. She wouldn't be missed seeing how she was one of the many choir members. Plus the parking is awful, and it's hard to find a seat. We would have all enjoyed a quiet evening home.

But we couldn't stay home.  We couldn't miss an opportunity to let our little one conquer her fear.  We had to let her try. I held her close and told her if she needed to walk off stage again that it was ok.  But she should at least go and try. She had worked so hard learning all the songs and dances. I let her know that I believed in her. Those simple words were enough to encourage her to go.

I walked her to her classroom where all her classmates were waiting for curtain call, everyone in costume and good spirits. She walked right in and started to talk to the kids. Her teacher met me at the door. Her teacher looked a little surprised that I brought her.  She emphasized that the dress rehearsal did not go well... at all.  In a bit of explanation I told her, "We had to let her face her fear. We had to let her try." An exit plan was arranged in case of tears and I went back to the gym to elbow my way into a seat, perhaps even one with a view of the stage!

The curtains opened to reveal all of the children standing on stage, mostly on risers. I held my breath as the music started, my eyes focused on the tiny girl in the yellow shirt.  She had been strategically placed right on the end, close to her teacher. I let out a sigh of relief as she sang along with the others. She sang and danced the whole performance.  She did it.

She was so happy when I picked her back up. She was full of pride and accomplishment. It was worth the parking and seating, worth the risk of embarrassment or potential scaring.  We didn't come to this life to hide in the wings. I couldn't let her hide or she would have never known the joy of success!

Some of us feel like we are not as happy or fulfilled as we should be in life. Sometimes we see others rejoicing in success and wonder why that never seems to happen to us.  Could it be that we are hiding in the wings?

I had to ask myself that question as we left the school that night? A 6 year old just showed me how rewarding it is to try again, to get back up, to face a fear.  A 6 year old just reminded me that success is worth the risk of failure.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Repost from Happydotmom

DYI: Coffee Filter Wreath

These coffee filter wreaths have become pretty popular on home design blogs.  I love the fullness of them and had to try it out myself.  The cost of supplies is only $5 and you just can't go wrong with such a inexpensive project.

 There really are only a few steps to making these wreaths.  
It took me about 1 1/2 hours from start to finish.
I folded my filters in quarters before I hot glued them onto the styrofoam wreath.  You could try different folds to get different looks. I think rolling them would be pretty cute.
 The filters started to fill up the wreath quickly!
 And after I finished gluing the wreath was a hot mess :) But I knew that the next step was to trim with the scissors so I wasn't too worried.

 I glued a ribbon to the back and called it quits.  I love how plump it is! 

Once it was on the wall my husband told me it looked like a doughnut.  I was thinking the same thing myself!  I would suggest using a larger wreath base :)  Have fun making your own.  Leave a comment if you make one I'd love to see it!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Free Blog Help

Did you know I also run a Blog help site?  I have lots of links to Free Blog Buttons, Blinkies, Tickers and the likes.  You can learn how to change your background or header with one of my free tutorials and SO MUCH more!

Just visit me at

I also offer one of a kind design work for your blog for a great price.

Friday, November 14, 2014

How to Make Puppy Chow- an easy recipe for kids

Today I closed down an old blog of mine, It was actually hard for me to do! It had served as a family journal for quite a few years. I hope to keep our family life a little more private for the sake of the kids so I've started fresh. If you don't mind I will repost a few of my Happy Dot Mom posts from time to time. This one is from Jan 2011 and was a huge Pintrest success.

How to Make Puppy Chow- an easy recipe for kids

When we made our Puppy Chow yesterday we called it Snowman Poop for our party.  But a flower by any other name will smell just as sweet, right?  I've also heard it referred to as Monkey Munch on Jon and Kate Plus Eight.  This recipe is great for kids to help with... that is if you don't mind the mess.  You could change the amounts of the recipe and still come up with a tasty snack... the amounts are just done to taste.


8-10 cups Toasted Rice Cereal (like Rice Chex cereal)
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar

1.  Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter over medium-low heat. (I like to use a large pan for melting, leaving enough room for the cereal to be added in step 2).  Stir constantly and remove from heat once the chocolate chips have melted.

2. Stir 8 cups of toasted rice cereal into the chocolate-peanut butter mixture.  Add more rice cereal one cup at a time, until all pieces of cereal are coated in chocolate-peanut butter mixture.

3. Fill a 1gallon or 2 gallon Ziploc bag with powdered sugar.

4. Add the coated cereal to the Ziploc bag. Seal bag and shake.  The cereal will then be coated in powdered sugar and ready to eat!

My kids just love this treat, and it really is so easy to make.  Leave me a comment and let me know if you make it.  I'd also be interested to know if anyone has some fun varieties of the recipe.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Things will get better

"Everyone of us has times when we need to know things will get better." - Elder Holland

I love this little video! It's one of my sweet husband's favorites. It applies to all of us.  As my little family is budgeting, moving money around, thinking about ways to bring in more income, stretched thin with time commitments and usually out of energy this video gives hope. It also reminds me that I am not alone. We all have our struggles but we can all find hope.

Read the complete talk HERE.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mindful of Your Child's Personality

When raising children you have to be a mindful parent.
What works for one child will sometimes be useless for the next.

I once thought parents created children, personality and all. I thought all my children's accomplishments were directly related to my great parenting! Can you imagine the pressure this put on me? Because if that were true then all of my children's bad behavior was directly related to poor parenting.  

When my first child had a potty accident I was certain that I needed to immediately fix the problem. There was no time for accidents, no time for learning. My parenting ego was on the line.

As I had more children my mind opened to the idea that each child comes to earth with their own personality.  My first two children unloaded the books on our bookshelves daily. They didn't care if I shouted at them to stop.  They took little notice to the timeouts that followed.  They wanted the books and they went after them. But my third child was completely different.  As she took interested in the books I simply said "no, no" and she buried her face in the carpet to cry. It broke her little 1 year old heart to be corrected.

Seeing the vast differences in my children, even while being parented the same, gave me insight to how important personality is to families.  Our personalities shape our perspective.

My two children who unloaded those bookshelves daily now read for hours daily. They love books, learning and they don't take no for an answer. They are real "go getters"! My sweet third child loves to please her mom.  Yesterday, I asked her if I could have a piece of her Halloween candy and she brought down 8 pieces.  I asked her why she brought me so many and she said, "Mom, you know I love to spoil you." 

Our children can't always be parented the same as our neighbors, they can't always be parented the same as their siblings. We must look at them as the individuals they are.  We must be kind and patient with what we view as their weaknesses.  

Believe in your children. Believe that their personalities will bring joy and purpose to their lives. Be a mindful parent. Be willing to meet their individual needs.

I can see now, more than I could see at the beginning, that each child has a living spirit within them.  Just as each parent has their own.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fears and Miracles

My niece went into the hospital yesterday for her second surgery on a sticky, uncooperative brain tumor. She is eleven. My sister's only daughter.

I can not tell you the fears that surrounded this surgery. It was a more difficult and dangerous surgery than the first and we all were nervous for her safety.

On those jittery days before the surgery as I was weakly hushing my own fears, I was introduced to an idea that really helped me. The idea is that fears are just the body's reaction to negative imaginations.  So, we imagine the outcomes of the future and when we imagine in a negative way our body reacts. For me this idea removed the all the power the fears held.

My scripture study reminded me again not to fear. Not because bad things don't happen, but because the Lord is over all. To us all he says:

Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace         and in the knowledge of the truth.
Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;
And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.
And the Father and I are one. I am in the Father and the Father in me; and inasmuch as ye have received me, ye are in me and I in you.
Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall.
And the day cometh that you shall hear my voice and see me, and know that I am.
Watch, therefore, that ye may be ready. Even so. Amen.

While in surgery yesterday the doctors found that the tumor was too firmly attached to the brain to remove any of it.  However, they were able to remove the cyst, which was important so they were ready to close her back up. 

Until they got the idea to try at the tumor from one other angle, a more difficult angle. They found that it did pull away from the brain at the new angle and were able to remove 80% of the tumor!  The last 20% was attached to the hypothalamus and was too risky to remove.  The doctors again decided that it was time to close her back up. 

As they went to close her up they found that the tumor had moved itself away from the hypothalamus. They were able to remove the rest of it, it was a true blessing!

There were so many other sweet and tender reminders of the Lord's care over my niece. We are so grateful for this miracle! 

A true miracle that has humbled all who know and love my niece. I just can't stop sending up prayers of thanks.