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Graphics Freebie!

So lately I’ve been really into making “rinchies”, which are little round 1″ circles with art on them – I’ve mostly been making them into bottle cap necklaces. I also plan on making a few magnets from the flattened glass marbles, and some little pins/badges from the bottle caps as well.

In the spirit of giving, I’m going to share a freebie graphic I put together of the Barbie logo – my daughter wants a Barbie bottle cap necklace, and so of course I had to make a full sheet of rainbow logos. It’s a 4×6 print, perfect to get printed on photo paper, to create a really bright and vibrant project.

Click the preview to download the image!

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Semester Ended!

Hosnap! 3.86 GPA for my first semester back in school! This old lady has still got smarts…

Anthropology = A-
Music Tech = A
Brass Practicum = A
Aural Skills = B+
Music History = A
Percussion Practicum = A

Not too bad at all. I’m still a little sad that my cumulative GPA is only 3.51 due to the semester I had to end early when my son was born before finals, but even so, 3.51 isn’t bad, and it’ll go up if I have 2 more years of grades like this :)

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Long Time, No Write

So I noticed that time flies when school keeps a household busy! I’ve successfully survived most of my midterms, a month of basketball, and now we’re heading into ballet recital preparation!

Last month when I went in for my ADD meds checkup, my doctor started asking me about weight, since I hadn’t lost any since my previous visit, despite me stating I was starting to exercise – and yes, I promise I have indeed been exercising multiple hours a week, walking to class from parking spots a quarter mile away, biking to school when it was warmer (too cold now! I’m a baby).

Anyhow, based on past bloodwork trends, last year I was looking to be pre-diabetic, which is why I was trying really hard to stick with whole grains, low-ish glycemic snacks and treats, with only occasional indulgences (I was using the No-S method, no sweets, no seconds, no snacks, unless it’s a special S day). Since that hasn’t been making a dent on my size and symptoms, she asked me to start a more strict method of nutrition (not really a DIET because that leads you to assume that someday it will be done and you can go back to your “normal” eating habits).

When we have insurance again, we will actually check my levels of insulin/thyroid/whatever, but in the meantime, I think the evidence tells. I lost 7 pounds in the 14 days I spent on the Belly Fat Cure Fast Track, and I’m on day 9 of the 14 days on Belly Fat Cure (less strict than Fast Track) and my weight completely stalled. Which means my body is most likely highly insulin resistant, probably type 2 diabetic, and I need to wave goodbye to my friends sugar and refined flour.

I’ll try to write again soon, I’ve always got lots on my mind, it’s just hard to find time when I’ve got to keep my kids on track and my house tidy-ish.

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School = Money Sink

Is it just me, or do books cost way more than you’d expect? If I bought all my books on Half.com it would be $500 plus shipping (45 bucks for it to come in 5 to 7 days, or else 90 to 100 bucks to get it in 2 or 3 days) and then waiting. If I get them locally, most of them aren’t available used, and so it would be more like $1000. Looks like online may be the way to go, even if it means not having my books till next week. So far only one class is assigning homework from the books. Oh, and don’t forget that I need $50 for a kit of percussion sticks. YIKES.

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Go Music History!

First day of music history, and I already discover that the oldest known composer is first of all a woman, second of all a priestess, and third of all a princess! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enheduanna

See, I am already learning fascinating stuff. School is awesome, kids!

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Whew!

OK, Now I’ve got the bare bones of the new Orem Children’s Chorale website up, and it coordinates with the already existing website for The Orem Chorale – I made it so that they use the same layout, but with different headers. The adult choir has some medieval sheet music as the background, and the kid’s choir has some easy piano sheet music. Subtle, but enough to make it so you know exactly which website you’re looking at.

If you feel like looking, http://www.oremchorale.org and http://childrens.oremchorale.org are the two sites.

I also made a basic information flyer for the new choir to go to school for open house. I’m using the website header on the flyer, so everything has a uniform look. I hope that people like it!

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chunky monkey

So here’s the skinny. I’m fat, and I need to do something about it. I’m 192 pounds on the nose according to my Wii. I wear size 14, sometimes size 16 pants, and an XL shirt/dress size. My measurements are 46/36/46 – wearing a 38 H cup. Oh, and I’m 5’1&1/2.” I think the closest I have to a “body twin” is model Denise Bidot (except she’s 5’9″). There is really only two things I dislike about my body, and that’s my scoliosis and my loose belly skin from having my kids. Neither one is fixable without surgery, but supposedly both would be benefited from dropping some weight. The funny thing is, I’m pretty fit for being “obese” – I can jog a mile, I can do a 5K (slowly). I can hike and dance, but I feel like I could do these things better if I was even more fit.

So I need to exercise more – I already eat pretty few calories, and what I do eat is OK. Not fantastic, but not terrible, and I don’t feel deprived at all. I also know I have a tendency to fall into disordered eating habits if I get too anal about calories. So since my calorie intake is already under 2000 calories a day, I don’t want to push it there.

So, exercise. I think I need to get my bike fixed. I already walk some, but I get really bored just walking around by myself, and because of my bustiness running is physically painful. Biking is a good way to get cardio without the bust bumping around, but my brake line was cut by some punk kid 2 summers back.

I do really enjoy working out on my Wii, but I hate being called obese by the taunting little voice on my Wii Fit. I have a long time to go before it will stop scolding me, and sometimes I think I’ll never be able to get below 150, but if I’m going to do something about it, now is probably the time.

I wonder how feasible it would be to bike to school – maybe I should try it before school starts?

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Heading into scary territory…

So I guess now I can write about my life more, since the state can’t re-license us as foster parents, which means no kids in my home that I have to preserve privacy rights for (too bad, though, you get to hear about my own kids whenever I want to write about them!). Apparently if you cannot support your family financially WITHOUT the foster care monthly disbursements, then you are not allowed to be foster parents. Since my husband lost his job back in February, that means we are basically untouchables. The state had to remove the girls from our home, to a new set of foster parents, all because this economy is crud.

My poor husband is feeling even more stress and pressure, growing pretty much exponentially day by day – he has had 52 interviews since he was laid off. It’s been about 25 weeks. More than 2 interviews a week, not counting phone interviews. He has been applying for dozens of jobs a day, hundreds of jobs a week. His resume has been chosen as “one of the top 2 or 3 candidates” a few different times now, and so far they have always chosen “the other guy.” Well, that’s great for him, but I’m starting to feel like it needs to be my husband’s turn to be “the other guy.”

Right now he is at some sort of working interview – he’s going in to work a half day, then do a presentation on what he learned. I hope that he does well – he gets nervous speaking on the fly in front of crowds, but I also know that he is determined to do whatever must be done to get a job, even (or especially) if it involves going outside of his comfort zone.

So sad that an intelligent, educated, well experienced guy like him has to be dragged through the mud and made to feel like he is worthless because someone is always “better suited for the position” than him.

I also applied for a few jobs on campus. If there’s something I can do while the kids are at school, that can bring in enough money to help even a little bit, I’ll do it. I haven’t heard back yet, but at least I know I have experience in one of the jobs I applied for – newspaper delivery for the school paper! At least doing it for the school will be infinitely easier than doing it for the Daily Herald, Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune, USA Today, and NY Times(yes, all at once. That was insane.).

My baby Tink is starting kindergarten, and my little Peter Pan is starting second grade. I really liked being room mom last year, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it this school year – maybe for Pan’s class, I can do all the room mom stuff in the afternoon when I don’t have school myself.

This year, the kids get a new experience – school breakfast. One of my classes starts at 8 am, and so I’m going to get the kids in the breakfast program so that on Tuesdays and Thursdays I can drop them off on my way to school. At least it means a little less work for me in the morning, since I won’t have to cajole them into eating before we have to leave… I just need to get them dressed and over to the school before they complain too much about being hungry!

Oh, and haha. I just noticed that I’ve mentioned me going to school a few times, but I don’t think I’ve written much about that here on the blog – back in April, I attended a foster care symposium, and one of the speakers told us not to let caring for traumatized kids get us burnt out, and another told us to accomplish our dreams, and don’t talk ourselves out of it. Well I already knew I was queen of convincing myself not to do things, so my husband told me to just go for it. I initially had things set up to go to summer semester, but with my last foster care case that ended up being impossible. So in a way, having the foster kids go is a blessing, because it opened up fall semester for me. I’m going back for a Bachelor’s of Music Education, back on the road I started on waaaay back in 1999 at CSULA.

So that puts me here, in this new position of mom and student. If I can do this, and get everything done in the next 2 or 3 years, then I will become a teacher and can bring a lot of blessings to both the community I teach in, and to my family. If we are ever put in a position again where my husband is laid off, then we can have my education and career to fall back on.

Right now it’s kind of like I’m sitting in one of those white water rafting boats, floating in a lull, but able to see the rapids ahead. It’s going to be wild, scary, and probably at least a little dangerous, but afterwards the experience will bless me (as long as I manage not to lose anyone over the side of the raft along the way!).

Wish us luck!

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Faith Value Experience #1

“The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Learn about faith from the scriptures and living prophets. Read Hebrews 11; Alma 32:17–43; Ether 12:6–22; and Joseph Smith—History 1:11–20. Read two general conference talks on faith. Exercise your own faith by establishing a habit of prayer in your life. Begin by regularly saying your morning and evening prayers. After three weeks of following this pattern, discuss with a parent or leader what you have learned about faith and how daily personal prayer has strengthened your faith. In your journal express your feelings about faith and prayer.”

As a mother with little children, it’s imperative that I teach them by example. When they see me read the scriptures, and pray, and life a life of faith, then they are drawn to it themselves, with very little prompting.

Now that my son is reading, we kneel together as a family before bedtime, and we each take turns reading a verse or two, before saying a family prayer. We have now been doing it enough that if my husband or I forget, the children actually initiate the scripture reading and prayer (which is good, because I often need to be reminded, at the end of a busy, stressful day).

We also pray as a family at every meal, and we all say personal prayers – I try to remind the children to say them at bedtime, and we also pray for help during the day whenever we need a moment of gratitude or divine help.

I have also noticed that on the days where we have skipped praying(even for only one prayer), everyone is usually stressed, rushed, and very grouchy. Taking a moment to stop and thank God for the blessings He has given us tends to take us all out of our self-serving attitudes, even for a moment, and helps us be a little more cheerful, and a little more grateful for the good things in our lives.

Even though prayer is a small thing, it helps build faith through repetition and revelation – the more you pray, the more you feel the Spirit of the Lord, which in turn helps us want to pray more. Sometimes when you pray, you receive an answer in such a way that it helps your faith grow.

In reading Hebrews 11, you get a really concise definition of faith – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. After that, there’s an entire list of prophets and other scriptural figures who lived their lives with faith, to provide the reader with both motivation and hope.

In Alma 32, we are told that ASKING for a direct sign from God is not faith, but arrogance, and if we see a direct sign from God and then still deny Him, how much worse is that than sinning when you don’t know any better. It also speaks of how faith is available to all, whether man or woman or child, and how children are often given faith that confounds a grown man. We are then given the allegory of faith as a seed – teaching us that faith is not merely given once and the journey is over, but instead we must constantly feed and tend our faith.

Ether 12 is another list of prophets to serve as an example of faith, and it reminds us that we can use the experiences of others to help build our own faith.

The entry from Joseph Smith’s history reminds us of the great faith he had as a child, strong enough that reading the Bible could prompt him to pray with such strength that God and Christ visited him in the flesh – without faith, he would not have been able to see the Lord, and probably wouldn’t have even bothered trying to pray about his doubts and troubles.

“Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” by Elder Kevin W. Pearson – I really like his comment about faith as a scientific reaction that is essential to our existence. Also this quote “Faith and fear cannot coexist. One gives way to the other. The simple fact is we all need to constantly build faith and overcome sources of destructive disbelief.” – it reminds me of Yoda from Star Wars, reminding us that fear and hate and suffering are all connected, and those are the negative feelings that lead to eternal misery, but if we have faith and hope and love, then we will be drawn more to God.

“The Transforming Power of Faith and Character” by Richard G. Scott – God used the power of faith to build this universe, even down to the smallest atomic particles. This is my favorite quote from this talk “We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day… Neither Satan nor any other power can destroy or undermine your growing character. Only you could do that through disobedience. A sterling character is converted into worthless ashes when eroded by deceit or transgression.” I also really like this thought: “Material things do not of themselves produce happiness and satisfaction and the joy of attainment on earth. Nor do they lead us to exaltation. It is nobility of character, that fabric of inner strength and conviction woven from countless righteous decisions, that gives life its direction.”

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I know it’s been quiet here…

Yeah, since most of my life currently revolves around taking care of my foster kids, and I’m not allowed to blog about them for privacy reasons, it makes sense that there have been digital tumbleweeds blowing through here…

But I can talk about my volunteer position at my church, which has actually been really fun. In January I was asked to serve as the Beehive Advisor, which means I get to hang out and guide/teach the 12 and 13 year old girls. We have a fantastic bunch of kids, and I’ve already gotten to know them as their youth choir director and as the Primary (kid’s Sunday School) music leader. So it’s not a hard thing to step in and work with these girls that I’ve already known and loved for the last 3 years.

For those of you unfamiliar with the LDS youth program, the boys are in Boy Scouts, and the ultimate goal is the Eagle and the Duty to God awards. For the girls, we have a program called Personal Progress, and they can earn their Young Womanhood Recognition award. The program is based on a series of core values, and there are smaller activities for the girls to do to teach them about each value, and once those are done, the girls need to do a 10 hour project to complete that value experience.

I found out that leaders can also earn this award – now I earned mine back when I was a teen, but the program has changed a bit since I was in it, most of the value experiences have changed a bit, on the whole the program is a lot more thinking and learning and pondering. They have also changed the physical awards they give the girls, and I really want one of the new necklaces, they actually come in silver now (when I was young, it was only gold, and I don’t really wear gold all that much). They also have these things called Honor Bees, which you can earn by helping others do their value projects and experiences…

Well, I have already done quite a bit of helping out, and it’s only 40 hours of helping others, plus I have to re-read the whole Book of Mormon. So my goal is to earn both! :-D

I figure since the majority of the goals require reading or doing something, then writing in your journal about the experience, I might as well do that here.

So, I’m going to try and do this, it will probably take me a long time, but as I’ve been known to say – “It should be fun!”

Oh and, my husband is out of work, and still looking for something, so if you know of any opportunities for a smart guy with an MBA, let us know <3

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