Monday, December 30, 2013

DIY magnet board (from old cookie sheets) in seven easy steps!

You know the old saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention?"

Truer words were never spoken.

Except in my case, the saying should be something more along the lines of "Motherhood necessitates the development of dormant (and not previously desired) talents."

Okay--so I think we can all agree that quote writing isn't one of my talents--undeveloped or otherwise. 

What I'm trying to express is that I think I my willingness to venture into the "craft world" has increased about one-thousand fold since I became a mother. That isn't to say that I enjoy actually making crafts any more than I used to (I don't), but it is to say that I've found these little adventures into previously under-discovered territory to be a pretty good way to save money and (as long as I don't get too delusional as to what I try to do) end up with some functional and sometimes even fairly pretty items. I give ample credit to the internet for this new development.

Enter my most recent success:

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I come from a long line of  "cork board collage" people. What that means is that I currently have a cork board in my kitchen filled with pictures of fun and happiness and silliness. It also means that I had a similar arrangement in each of my college bedrooms, and in the room that I had as a child. It also means that my mother had a similar arrangement in our kitchen as I was growing up, and has one now as well.  It also means that many (if not all my aunts) have a similar arrangement in their home, as did my grandmother.  

So, it came as no surprise to me when Heather wanted to make her own collage (though she calls it a collection) in her own room. Rather than going out and buying a corkboard though, I decided to see about making a magnet board  in-house, using a few old cookie sheets that we had in our attic.  

(Eric had purchased said cookie sheets at our local thrift store to help him in one of his projects, but then found them not as well suited to his needs as he had previously planned.)

I found a pretty basic tutorial here, which I followed. It's not exactly rocket science, but I'll spell it out here anyway:

#1--Find a cookie sheet or two. Make sure that these cookie sheets will actually attract a magnet (not all of them do).

#2--Spray paint the cookie sheet(s).  If you have wimpy fingers, and you have a husband with strong fingers, you might be able to get him to step in and do most of this job for you. Or you could just tuff it out and do it yourself like a big girl (I chose the former. Shocker, I know).

#3--Let the cookie sheets dry completely. This is particularly important, as I learned first-hand.

#4--Drill two small holes on either side of the cookie sheet for hanging purposes. (If you happen to have a hobby-ist husband who received a drill press for Christmas in 2011, this would be an excellent time to put that baby to use, FYI.)

#5--Hang your painted cookie sheet(s) up, using nails in the holes you just drilled.

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#6--Feel free to make some magnets, possibly using buttons if you wish.

#7--Let your daughter know that she now has a place for her collage collection, and bask in the feelings of "good momness" that will flood over you as you experience her gratitude and joy.

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Trust me, if I can pull this off, anyone can pull this off!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

"I told you that it'd be okay"

I love this. I'm sure it's in large part because of the way it's filmed and where it's filmed - it all brings back priceless great memories of my own childhood in Southern Utah. But I love it mostly because of the message. Especially the end message. Especially the phrase, "We will live to fall in his arms". What an encouraging mental image that is.

 "I have absolute certain knowledge, perfect knowledge, that God loves us. He is good, He is our Father, and He expects us to pray, and trust, and be believing, and not give up, and not panic, and not retreat, and not jump ship, when something doesn't seem to be going just right. We stay in, we keep working, we keep believing, keep trusting, following that same path and we will live to fall in His arms and feel His embrace and hear Him say, "I told you that it'd be okay, I told you it would be all right."
-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

(A telling of one of my own "I told you it'd be okay" moments can be found here.)

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Today is Keep Smiling Day.

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Joe Brent Liddle, my cousin and friend fought cancer with courage, determination, humor and what seemed to me like un-ending optimism for over a year and a half, and after a valiant battle, passed away in October.

Rough stuff.

Joe Brent was born just about two years before I was, and I've spent my whole life seeing him (and later his wife and sons) every summer on Cedar Mountain, where we worked and played and laughed (and yelled--always lots of loud exuberant yelling) at the Corry reunion together. Joe Brent is also one of the die hards - those who stay up the mountain "after hours", so for the past fifteen years or so, I've been singing campfire songs with him as well.

Piano Man was his favorite. He told us that he used to sing it to his baby sons to get them to fall asleep at night. Then we'd all laugh at the mental picture of scrupulous Joe Brent Liddle, singing a drinking song about "waitresses practicing politics as businessmen slowly get stoned" to get his innocent infant children to drop off for the night.

We sang it every year, without fail.

Losing him is hard. Really, really hard. His funeral was uplifting and soul-filling, a real testament to the kind of man that he was, and an experience that I'm grateful I was able to experience.  All the same, losing him has been really quite hard.

But Joe Brent was a smile-r. He was a joker. He was an optimist. Today is his birthday, and in honor of that birthday, my brothers have cooked up "Keep Smiling Day". It's a day where we will honor Joe Brent by looking for a person or persons who need a kindness, service, or smile, and then meet those needs. It's a day where we will celebrate the joyful, focus on the happy, make the world a bit better. It's a day where I will try to be more like Joe Brent. I think it's going to be a great, great day, a fitting tribute to a great, great man.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Games and more games, all the world is a game

Just for fun, I thought I'd post about some of our favorite games.

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Heather loves loves loves to play games. Eric and I, not quite as much. But, like many of the sacrifices that you make for kids, playing games comes with hidden benefits for all of us when we participate.  I get the satisfaction of knowing that I'm spending time with my daughter, doing something that she enjoys, Heather gets the happiness of spending time with her mom and/or dad, and she learns manual dexterity, reasoning, good sportsmanship, the list goes on and on.

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Most enjoyably for me, playing games with Heather gives me an ever-changing glimpse into the way her mind works, and I often find new and delightful treasures there-treasures that make me glad that I took the time away from the laundry or other mundane parts of life to experience.

The Smurf Game:  This one is an old favorite, and I do mean old favorite. I used to play this game with my maternal grandmother when she and my grandpa would come on their annual visits to our home. It's basically a smurfed up version of the card game "War", which makes it super easy for kids to figure out and play. I bought these cards on ebay back when I was the single aunt, traveling around from niece to nephew.
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Yatzee Jr. and Memory--always a delight.
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Guess Who.  Eric got this for Heather for Christmas last year, and we've all enjoyed it thoroughly. It's ideally for age six and up (apparently), but with a little help, Heather's been enjoying it since she was four.
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The Lorax Game:  This one is a little tricky to remember how to play, and sometimes I can't find the instruction card which makes life hard, but Heather likes it, and since it's so small it travels well.  Also, I'm a big fan of anything Dr. Seuss*, so this is definitely a keeper.
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This is a new game we've come up with lately. We call it "the reading game", and Heather loves it.  I bought a pack of reading flash cards at the dollar store last year, and we started out using that, though as the game gained in popularity, I googled "printable sight word cards" and printed out about two-hundred more.
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To play, I put two cards out, word face up in front of Heather. She can choose which word she wants to sound out. If she's able to get the word right (which is nearly every time, because I help her liberally--we want this to be fun, you know?) then she gets to keep the card, and I put out a new one, so she always has a choice of two words. To make things interesting, and to keep her from realizing that I'm totally letting her win, every once in a while (like once or twice in the whole game), I'll work it so I don't help her quite enough (generally on a word that I'm pretty sure she actually knows and is just being a little lazy), and if she doesn't get that card, then I get to keep it.

We play for a pre-determined amount of time, generally somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes, and at the end, we count our cards and whoever has the most wins. Heather always beats me handily, which pleases both of us.

The cards I bought have the word on one side and pictures of the word on the other. The sight words I printed out just have the word on one side with no pictures. So far Heather seems to like them both equally, I think because one has the joy of pictures and one has the joy of feeling more grown-up "like mom".
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And then Heather recently discovered Uno. Love it! She can hardly wait to meet up with her Corry cousins so she can join in the Uno fest.
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(Here's hoping the cousins haven't moved on to another game by now!)

*Except for a few of those awful awful live action movies they made a few years back. Mike Myers interpretation of The Cat in the Hat? No, thank you.
Uno picture courtesy of StarsApart
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