Jul 7 2010

essential life skills {10} be excellent to each other

Jul 7 2010

essential life skills {9} go to serene places

I have been planning our vacations lately. There are some amazing places out there. We thought about going up to Seattle before Gentry starts school again. There are some beautiful houses to stay in there.

You can book your reservation here. It is on Harstine Island which is about 2 hours from Seattle. It is secluded and right on the tip of the island.

This house is on the northern part of Gig Harbor, it is decorated really cute and has a little hut on a private beach for Gentry to play/live in. I know that we would love it here.

This one is on Mutiny Bay which is near Puget Sound. You would have to do a drive on ferry to get there. The house is gorgeous. And a car on a boat, Little boy heaven. Also little boy heaven, a beach full of sticks. Did you know sticks are guns, bow and arrows, and light sabers?

This is The Orange Door Cottage on Tyee Beach on Camano Island. It is decorated just like your little beach combing heart wants it to be decorated. But it is on a kind of lame beach. It didn’t matter to me. The owner emailed me and included personal information like, her blog and the name of her book. I was almost talked into it.

The thing is, the thought of traveling that far with a baby and a 5-year old really started to freak me out. And Annie, my friend, posted about a little cabin they were going to rent out about an hour from our houses.

It was a match made in heaven.

It is on its own private island with its own beach. You have to walk across a rope bridge to get to it. So we booked it and I am pretty sure it is also going to be little boy heaven.

I am so excited.

Jun 8 2010

essential life skills {8} learn to swim

I didn’t take swimming lessons until I was in college. Probably 19. Go me.

I took the basic class by myself a couple times and than I took an actual lap swim class with my sister Kateka. We were really excellent swimmers, if you count sitting on the edge and whining about getting cold and wet. Or treading water in the deep end. Yes. I am still as good as Michael Phelps.

I signed Gentry up for swim lessons last year and every time the teacher wanted him to do something, he would stand on the side of the pool and say, “I CANNOT DO THAT!” Everytime. He was petrified. Scared and nervous. Until he realized he really could do that. Towards the end of the summer when I was to fat, pregnant and hot to be happy sitting on the side of the neighborhood pool watching him, I would get in and play with him. His favorite game was for me to push him to the bottom of the pool and he would shoot up like a rocket. Once in a while he would punch me in the stomach and Amelia in the who knows what when he was down there and than shoot up like a rocket. He was just getting her ready for the big brother he is today.

So learn to swim. Even if you are old and have not done it before. There are classes for 3 year olds and classes for you.

Also, look at this guy. Holy cow! I could never do this without dying first.

Jun 7 2010

essential life skills {7} enjoying life

A womans life is a hard one. For me at least. A woman is always doing and being torn in 100 different directions. We have to find the things that are most important to us and do those things well. The rest doesn’t matter so much.

I remind myself, one day my house will be clean. One day I will make good dinners every night. One day I will know my worth. One day dumb things won’t stress me out. What are your things? What do you remind yourself of? Cause, I know that this part of my life is only temporary and that this part is fleeting. I look forward to the change and also relish this part where my kids are little and smiley and sweet (in general). I am thankful for our good health and that we are still together after 10 years (9-ish married + 1-ish dating).

And She fights for her life
As she puts on her coat
And she fights for her life on the train
She looks at the rain
As it pours
And she fights for her life
As she goes in a store
With a thought she has caught
By a thread
She pays for the bread
And She goes…
Nobody knows

Jun 6 2010

essential life skills {6} learn star wars characters names

My mom said my 30 days of life skills was not complete. That she was waiting for more than 5. Hmmmm. I am obviously struggling with this.

This one probably applies more if you are married to a boy, or have male children or grandchildren. Cause there are times when JJ will try to relate gospel truths to the the life that is Yoda. Learn, I will. Or times when the man child asks me my favorite character or asks me which character I want to be by selecting a colored pencil as my light saber and I get it very wrong. Or there is also the roaming catalog of Star Wars Legos and I am supposed to know which numbers apply to characters and ships.

So yeah, I don’t know and apparantly I am missing out. How do you do?

May 5 2010

essential life skills {5} gardening

I have written about gardening before. I LOVE it.

But seriously. If you are not doing it, you need to.

What amazes me is that you can create something from a tiny little seed and then you can feed your family with it. And you are feeding your family organic magic food. And possibly if your kid is a picky eater, he may start eating the stuff he picks off plants himself. Plants that he put in the ground and helped water and watched you lovingly sing AC/DC songs too.

Here are two books I am using for gardening advice.

Grow Great Grub

Square Foot Gardening

The photo above is from all the transplants I have not yet planted in my garden. They were hanging out on my dining room table for several weeks.

May 4 2010

essential life skills {4} blow out your hair

Um. This is an art. I mean. Wielding a round brush and a blow dryer. Can you handle it?

I LOVE my hair after it has been blown out. The body. The softness. The good smell. Clean hair day is a good day.

So here are some videos illustrating how to do it.

This one is good for longer hair and if you flip it. The stylist really has good technique for an easy style.

This is one is a two part series. You can see the other one in youtube. This girl has a ratting problem and also dumps a gallon of product on her head as she says not to use to much product. But I think before the ratting starts it is a pretty good example of short hair styling. This girl says at one point that she is from Texas. I have heard that the Texas state slogan is, “The bigger the hair, the nearer to God.”

And here is Kandee Johnson hair and makeup feed. I really like her and I follow her instructions when I cut my bangs.

May 3 2010

essential life skills {3} pruning

Are you thinking, “Are you serious?”

I love pruning. I will come and do it for you if you want me too. It is like picking zits. Am I the only one that likes to do that? I know I am not, mom.

This seriously promotes healthy growth for the tree, even if you feel like you are doing a bad thing.

What to Prune from a Tree
A. Suckers that grow from the roots or base of the trunk
B. Limbs that sag or grow close to the ground
C. Branches that form an acute angle with the trunk
D. Watersprouts that shoot up from main “scaffold” branches
E. Limbs that are dead, diseased, or broken
F. Branches that grow parallel to and too close to another
G. Branches that cross or rub against others
H. Limbs that compete with the tree’s central leader

Prune summer-flowering plants, which will flower on the coming season’s new growth, while they are still dormant. Their bare limbs make it easy to see the plant’s structure, and the flush of spring growth will quickly heal wounds.

Prune spring-flowering plants immediately after their blossoms fade. Because they produce flowers only on old growth from the previous season, pruning soon after bloom will maximize flower production the next year. Pinch the candles on whorled-branching conifers when you see new growth.

Thinning cuts remove an entire branch where it meets another limb, the main stem, or the ground. They should be made as close to this junction as possible. These cuts help maintain the plant’s natural shape, limit its size, and open up the interior branches to light and air.

Thinning cuts remove an entire branch where it meets another limb, the main stem, or the ground. They should be made as close to this junction as possible. These cuts help maintain the plant’s natural shape, limit its size, and open up the interior branches to light and air.

Pruning is so divine. There is something so great about cutting a tree or bush back and then watching it flourish.

There was a cotoneaster plant in our yard when we moved it. It was dying. So I cut all the dead branches off. I cut it back to about 6 inches tall. It is now mid thigh-on me. So prune your trees and bushes. They will thank you for it.

May 2 2010

essential life skills {2} reading

I love reading. When I was nursing Gentry I could go through a book a day. Now Hulu and Netflix entertain while I feed the baby. I wish I could regain my passion for reading. But the mindlessness of the tube just draws me in. Nonetheless, I still have some favorites that are worth reading.

The Time Travelers Wife (Rated R) I love this book. It is nothing like the movie. The movie is all kinds of lame and passionless. The book. Oh, the book. How I love thee. Full of passions and intrigue. I am serious about the R rating though. It has lots of bad words and weird sex. Don’t read it if you are the least bit skittish or unmarried or a newly returned missionary.

Eat Pray Love (PG-13) I loaned this one out. I will probably never get it back. So if anyone needs an idea for a future present, this would be a good one. I love the places this lady goes. I love the people she meets. I love the life she is so lucky to live. As I read this, I searched for real estate in all the locales. Did you know you can buy a house in Bali for like $30,000? Like a house on the beach. Can you even imagine?

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Probably R, I remember a few bad words) This is about a boy who’s dad dies in 9/11. It is kind of a progressive work of art besides being an awesome novel. I had to read it twice to understand it. But it is so good and clever and just plain cool.

Those Who Save Us (Rated R) What the heck? I guess all I read is awesome books with naughty parts. Anyway, this one really would be rated R. It is about a lady who gets pregnant with a Jewish mans baby during World War II. She doesn’t tell and the baby doesn’t know. The baby eventually grows up to be a woman. And I just can’t tell you. But I LOVED this one. It really made me think about what I would do to keep my family alive if things got incredibly bad. Rated R for weird sex and torture of Jews.

The Red Tent (PG-13) This is probably one of my all time favorite books. It is about Dinah from the Bible. Her life and the way they worshiped back than. There were pagan (kind of crazy) ceremonies. But what I really loved from this book were the relationships she had with the women in her life. It is, after all, named after the tent the ladies headed to monthly.

These is My Words (PG) I knew there was a book knocking around this old noggin’ that everyone could read. I love this book. I love the love story. It is turn of the century Arizona and a strong woman who lives a strong and brave life. There is also “Sarah’s Quilt” that I loved. I remember reading this book all day one day. I didn’t get ready. I just followed Gentry around in my pajamas, they were red, and could not get enough of it. You will love it. It looks like there is a new one called “The Star Garden.” It is getting in my hold list from the library right now.

And now for the kids books we are loving. You will see that these lean to the male persuasion. That is because the female child doesn’t care and just smiles and is happy to be included in anything.

When Dinosaurs Came with Everything This book is so cute and clever. I could totally see Gentry reacting the same way.

Captain Raptor and the Moon Mystery I know you are looking at this book and thinking it must have been created by the ultimate Tolkeinstein nerd with large glasses and a side part. Possibly a bow tie. And you are very likely right. But we LOVED this book. Probably more than the one below. But seriously, it is everything a little boy could love and not so completely lame that you must scratch out your eyeballs. It is really a clever little story in comic strip format.

Captain Raptor and the Space Pirates Loved this one too. More dino-space loving.

Oh the Places You’ll Go This is of course the Dr. Seuss classic. But it is a POP-UP book. I mean. Can you even imagine how a wonderful book with a wonderful message could get any better? Well with things your kid can play with while you read it to him. Watch a video of it here.

What Was I Scared Of? Another one by Dr. Seuss. This one has glow in the dark pants on every page. Gentry loved flipping the lights on and off to see where the glowing pants were going to be next.

There was and Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly She dies of course and you get to see it happen. For real. The illustrations are quirky and dark. But it is totally a cute and fun book to read.

I am always looking for a good read. What do you all read and love?

May 1 2010

essential life skills {1} procrastination (i mean getting things done)

Oh look, I am only 4 days behind here. Good thing I set this goal.

So I thought this would be a good change of pace. You know life skills. I am realizing how I really lack in this area. I get nothing done ever. Like I feel like things are never accomplished around here.

Do you all have ideas how to do stuff? Cause I certainly don’t.

Here is what I have found works for me though:

{routine} like serious amounts of it. Monday I do laundry. Tuesday I go to the library. Wednesday I sit around and wonder what to do all day. Oh and plan the groceries for the week. Thursday go to Costco to get lunch with JJ and go grocery shopping. Friday. Um. Nothing. Saturday. Crazy busy and yard work. Sunday. Church.

{small goals and rewards} Like I will fold all the laundry today and if I do I get a piece of chocolate. Or when the bathroom is clean than you can sit and check blogs.

{think about running away from home} this really does nothing for the cause of getting things done.

{make a list} I write down what I need to get done every(ish)day. Sometimes I cross off nothing. Sometimes things stay on my lists for months. But sometimes I get things done. And I love looking at what I have been able to do all day. Even if the house shows no amount of progress, my list usually does.