Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Okay, a quick apology. I have been awful about blogging recently and it was not for any good reason. (It wasn't because I was out of town...that was only a weekend. Although it makes a good excuse Sharon.) The truth is that I am not keeping up on my stations. Lots of normal day to day stuff comes up and scheduled things get pushed aside. I wasn't focused on blogging because I thought I had time squared away for that. Turns out you can't really square time. You have to make something a priority for it to happen. Hopefully that means I have learned my lesson. Back to recent:

Daisy had this sweet baby blanket since she was, well....a baby. It was well loved.

Sadly, it was slightly charred in the blanket disaster of 2014. She has 'Snoopy' now and it is a great blanket, but she still has fond memories of her other blanket and she requested that I make it into something.

There is some pressure in this situation, because there is only one blanket, and if I messed something up, there was no going back. So, imagine me triple checking every step and measurement.

First, to decide what I should make. I asked Daisy what her favorite animal was and she said Elephant. (Yes, this still changes regularly, but I figured I could do an elephant.) I searched Pinterest (bless you internet) and found this fun tutorial. To be clear, this blog post is NOT a tutorial. It will show some stitching things, but there are no official instructions. Go to that link if you are interested in making something similar.

I got out Daisy's blanket and said a silent prayer. Luckily, the blanket was only singed in a spot on the back. There was still plenty of usable fabric.

I printed out a cute elephant pattern and got ready to go to town. I really liked the tutorial and it was free, but I wanted my elephant's ear to be a little farther back, so I just cut the pattern a little differently. You can see the original line and where I cut it farther back. Just personal preference.

Pieces cut. So far, so good.

I sewed the ears together and then sewed them between the other pieces. Since Daisy's blanket had two sides, the brown looked really good in contrast with the pink polka dots. I think normal cotton fabric would be easier to work with than this blanket fabric. (My machine liked to eat the fabric.) Obviously, I didn't have much choice.

I made the tail somewhere in there and then pinned it all together. Ready, set, sew.

I didn't get a picture of my fantastic helpers. June helped stuff the elephant and Pearl was very helpful watching and NOT telling Daisy. (That is a real skill people.) Finally, it was all ready to go.

The name came the day I finished it. June and I were playing Farkle and one of our imaginary people was Maleficent. Try saying that ten times. We started jumbling up the name and it eventually came out as Smelephant. The name was cute, so we gave it to our new creation. Smelephant does not have an eye, because I thought it would look strange among the polka dots. I think she is perfect just the way she is.

I left her on Daisy's bed one evening while she slept and she awoke to her new friend. The two have been pretty inseparable. I keep forgetting to get a picture of them together, so one night I turned on the light and snapped this shot. (She doubles as a pillow.)

I'm very happy with how she turned out. I think Daisy is pleased too. I think her favorite part is the knot in the tail.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Away in a Manger

I like to try and go to the Puyallup Fair in Washington once in a while. It is fun to hang out with my family and see the stuff mom has entered. I didn't go this year...

sort of.

Mom decided to take her fair experience to the next level. She has been entering her stitchery for decades, but this year she put up a display in the hobby hall. I came to help (before the fair started). The hobby hall is much what it sounds like...people put up displays of things they have collected. It could be anything really. Some of the things I saw this year:

Classic Laundry supplies
Brass Animals
Weird Al
I Love Lucy
Doll houses
Winnie the Pooh
Old books

Seriously...anything. There was even a display of creations made from rubberbands. My kids have done the bracelets, but I never even thought about making dragons with them.

Now, my parents have a LOT of stuff. They probably could fill up dozens of cases with their collections, but mom had something special in mind. She has been collecting nativities with a frenzy. Her collection has doubled in the last year. She puts them on display during the annual 'Festival of the Nativity' that the LDS church puts on in her city each year, but she thought the hobby hall would be fun as well.

Let me tell you, it is quite a process. First, pack up everything you want to display and drive it out to the fair.

Second, find your display case. Here is ours.

Third, put up some kind of background. Mom chose a very pretty swirly star background (wrapping paper). I think it was perfect. It was a little tricky getting it up there, but we managed.

Next, put all your stuff in. Good luck. Mom had more nativities than would fit. We worked on it for a couple hours and then left it until morning. We brought Alisa back with us, and with the three of us, we managed to smoosh most of the good stuff inside. It was a little tight, but it was necessary. There are so many awesome nativities. Check out the finished product.

Dad made some name tags to show the origin of several nativities. (Mom has gotten ones from all over the world.)

Everywhere you looked was another fascinating nativity. There were several that I had never seen before.

Mom had a good idea to put up a large magnifying square to display the miniature nativities.

I couldn't pick a favorite if I wanted to. I'm hoping to inherit some of these spectacular nativities and let my girls choose one someday. I asked mom which one was her favorite. I know she likes them all, but she chose the mermaid nativity. This one was special ordered from a friend in Florida. As far as I know there isn't another like it in all the world.

It was very blustery that second day that we finished setting up. Outside, the wind was wailing as it blew through the building and stage area. Kind of creepy cool. But the three of us managed to get everything in and out that was required. I was very proud of us.

It was full fledged storm outside. As we drove home, we saw debris everywhere and as I got close to home, a tree had fallen over taking out some power lines. I heard later that part of the ceiling collapsed in the Hobby Hall. It didn't damage any of the displays, but those who hadn't set up their collections had to wait until the repairs were done.

Other than helping set up nativities, I was able to relax and hang out with the family. Miranda and I were able to watch a movie and I played lots of games with mom. Here is Miranda while we were studying scriptures.

Tim was recovering from his foot surgery so he spent most of his time on the couch. And somehow I only got a picture of his foot. (Sorry Tim.)

It was nice to see Dad and his sidekick, April. She really is a fluffy black version of Moxy.

All too soon, it was time to head back to Utah. I love flying above the fluffy cotton fields. Mt. Rainier was peeking above the clouds. Gorgeous.

*My family was able to go to the fair this last weekend. Mom's latest stitchery piece received an Honorable Mention. (Good job!)

I also thought it was funny, because Mom said that while she was standing looking at her collection, a lady next to her leaned over and said, "There are probably nativities in there that you have never seen." Hahaha. Not in this case.

I'm only sad that I couldn't be there to help Alisa and Mom take everything back down. That was likely a harder task getting them all in the right boxes. Thanks for sharing your fabulous collection Mom.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hey Senor...I mean Senior

Don't worry, I don't have any seniors yet. Not even close. But I do know many people with kids who are graduating or have graduated. I'm assuming that it is around this time of year that kids are taking Senior pictures? I don't know. It has been a long time since I took mine.

I had the opportunity to take some pictures for a friend, but it was last year. should have been last year. They asked me to take pictures literally a week before graduation. It was cutting it a bit close, but we got it done. So, these photos are from last May, but I still thought they should get on the blog sometime. And I haven't been very good about taking my own photos at the moment. Really, I think it is time for another photography challenge to get me back in the groove.

Check out Will. He is a great kid. He hopes to become a film director. He definitely has the talent. I wish him the best in his endeavors.

Haha. He has a great sense of humor. We put together this graduation announcement, but you might guess that his mom vetoed it. Shame.

It is great to capture these moments in time. If I had any digital copies of my Senior Pictures, I would post one. They are classic. Maybe that would be a good project for me...

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Poem This Morning

Robyn's class did an assignment describing themselves. (A usual for the beginning of school.) She made a puzzle, drew a likeness of herself and wrote a poem. Granted, it was a form poem, where you just insert certain words, but it stills helps me get to know her a little better.

All my kids are unique and interesting. I always want to know more about them and how and what they think about. So, here is Robyn's Poem:


I am special and short
I wonder what people think about me
I hear popular songs
I see a delicious dinner
I want a cute puppy
I am special and short

I pretend to fight with myself
I feel happy about school
I touch fuzzy stuffed toys
I worry about natural disasters
I cry about death
I am special and short

I understand I am loved
I say I believe in Christ
I dream to become a writer
I try to do hard things
I hope to be successful
I am special and short

She is special and short. I was helping in the library this week when her class came in and Robyn was a head shorter than her classmates. Being short myself, I don't think it is the end of the world. And usually you don't notice height, unless you are sitting behind someone very tall at the movies. Plus, we all know good things come in small packages.

Special things come in any size. And Robyn is pretty special. Her personality is fantastic. Her sense of humor is sharp. She is kind and generous. I hope that she doesn't change to suit other people. She is pretty great the way she is right now.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Back to Random

Things are falling into a nice routine, just as I predicted. Kids are loving school, and I am trying to make sure I use my time efficiently. I'm getting more stitching done, I am caught up on my reading, and I am working on a project that has been on my to-do list for months. I would call that a success.

I haven't taken a lot of pictures, but I'll post the ones I have. There was another blood drive and Ivory begged to go. I couldn't decide what was so enticing about sitting there for an hour and a half waiting for mom, but I figured it out when we got to the free snacks at the end of the ordeal. Ivory brought her monkey, Congo, along. She had an assignment to keep him with her for a few days and write about their adventures.

What could be more exciting than watching people bleed. (Probably more mild than the book, Congo. Can't remember if I read that book, although I do enjoy Michael Crichton.) Ivory likes watching when they insert the needle. I usually look the other way.

Ivory says it is a tradition to take a picture of the bag of blood. Not sure if that is true, but she was in charge of the camera.

And to be honest, they do have yummy snacks. Not worth the wait in my opinion, but I didn't come for the snacks in the first place.

Pearl's first assignment in school was an 'All About Me' poster. We usually have one on hand from Preschool, but I try to make it a point to not use the same one. However, since I didn't scavenge from the old one, and Costco's photo center was down (and had been for over a month) I had to use pictures we had around the house. We took down her wall photo and grabbed a couple extra pictures. I think it turned out cute.  

In other news, Daisy lost a second tooth...the companion bottom tooth. I got this picture before she really lost it. The bag with tooth went missing and never showed up. Poor tooth fairy. Sadly, many teeth from this house have not made it to tooth heaven.

The rec center was closed for two weeks which meant I was off the hook from boot camp. Yay! But exercise is one of my stations, so I pulled out the 30-day shred and dusted it off. The kids found it and thought it would be great fun to try it as well. They were working out like champs. (Even Pearl joined in later.)

Robyn was doing modified versions, learned from Studio C. I wish I had gotten a picture when everyone was doing jumping jacks and Robyn was making carpet angels.

On any given day, half the kids are out the door bright and early. June gets to hang out longer since her school starts later. Pearl is the last one down to the bus stop. We walk down every day, but if she is really lucky, she gets to ride down on the Grom. There is all kinds of jealousy from the boys at the bus stop. (Pearl is the only girl down there.) The big attraction at the stop is the horses, or Moxy, if I bring her.

I do feel bad that Pearl is stuck with me for a chunk of the day. I am weird. I watched her with my robot eye for a while at lunch the other day.

I have tried to make good use of our time. I taught her to ride her bike finally. She was ready...she just needed a bike and a few minutes to build confidence. All the Cazier's are bipedal now. (Wait...we have been that way for a while. That word seems like it should work here...)

Grandma Cazier sent the crew home with peaches the other weekend and I was not feeling motivated to make anything. But June was not going to let them go to waste. She spent all night making a pie while I was out. It turned out great, although I laughed because she made it in a cake pan, instead of a pie pan. (I think Tyler couldn't find the pie pans.) Still tasted delicious. Can you see the J she put on it?

I was out that night with Tricia at the theater. We went to see a friend, Annadee, perform in the Diary of Anne Frank. It was really good, although the story does have a sad ending. I have never read the book or seen the play before, but after watching this production, I want to read the book. It is a tragic tale with character and beauty as well. It is really hard to imagine what so many people went through during that period of history.

There you have it. Some pieces of our life around here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Undici Settimana

Hello September. Hello regular schedules. Hello cooler weather (hopefully soon). Hello, I'm about to have a teenager. Breathe...that isn't for a few more weeks still. In the meantime, I think that I will try to finish up summer while we are still in it.

There is only week of summer that I am missing and like usual, it was busy to the last moment. Week eleven has to be intense. Even without our activities, there is the imminent imprisonment around the bend. Most of my kids were just fine with school starting. I probably was the most distressed this summer. I was having so much fun...I didn't want it to end. C'est la vie. Such is the cycle of life. Ever turning.

Week eleven had a fun craft. We made scratch tickets. I guess they are like the lottery kind, but we didn't use them for that. Here is the handy dandy tutorial, and hers look much nicer, but ours worked just fine. You will need to gather some supplies. First, print out whatever you are covering up, preferably on cardstock. Next, some dish soap, silver paint, and contact paper.

Trim your contact paper so it fits over your writing/design. Peel off the backing and place it on. (This might be the trickiest part. Finding the edge of contact paper is not for the faint of heart.)

It should look something like this.

You will need to look closely to see the outline of the contact paper on the cardstock. We backed the paper as well, although that is not necessary. Here is another picture. We made a fun puzzle for Grandma Cazier with most of the pieces, but I wanted the girls to get a chance to scratch as well, so we put all the parts of FHE on papers so we could scratch them off at random to have a scrambled FHE.

Now, to put on your silver coating. You mix a little dish soap with your silver paint and paint only on the contact paper, but making sure you cover your design. You may need to put on a couple coats.

These ones are ready to go. They aren't smooth and uniform like the ones on the tutorial, but they serve the same purpose.

And we used ours during FHE of course. Each girl got to scratch one off. They picked randomly. It was really fun. Our scrambled FHE started with treat. Got to love starting any evening with a treat.

That week we also picked most of the apples off our one tree. Some were falling off, but I'm guessing that they weren't all ready to be eaten. They looked pretty good.

But June's face says it all.

Despite the sourness, Ivory seemed to enjoy them.

Not to mention a thumbs up from Pearl.

On Wednesday, we met up with Tricia and went to the Dinosaur Museum. Actually, I think it is called the Museum of Ancient Life or something to that effect, but we always call it the Dinosaur Museum. All these kids are pretty cute. In case you are wondering about my Goth girls, Pearl and Daisy decided to dress in all black. They were being spies. (It is never dull around here.)

They have had a really cool exhibit going all summer. They have been making the Seven Wonders of the World out of balloons. They do a different one each week, but it takes thousands of balloons and of course they don't last forever. We happened to be visiting while Petra was on display and the Colosseum was under construction. It is amazing the detail they put into the Wonders. get to mostly see my kids. (They are the 8th wonder of the world.)

The kids explored and enjoyed many things. The sand is always a favorite. Even the biggies got into it. They play just as must as the younger kids. (It is good to be young at heart for a long time.)

These six still aren't very heavy. You should have seen it tilt when I stepped on...

Have I mentioned that I really like the T-Rex skeletons? I think they are so cool. Jurassic Park is still a favorite movie of mine. I need to go see Jurassic World.

It is tradition to get a picture by the mammoth shark, but this might be my favorite one yet.

And finally, the archaeological dig site. Once again, all the kids were 'digging' it. (Ha ha ha...) Check out my Goth Archaeologist. (Wait, my spy Archaeologist)

June, Robyn, and Daisy unearthed an entire dinosaur. They have never accomplished this in the past, so I dutifully took pictures, but I didn't even bother shooing away the boys walking across. You would think they would realize how valuable this find is? No one has discovered this type of dinosaur for at least...six minutes.

Thursday was our last treat day and we didn't make anything as a group, because I was busy making an ice cream cake for Fete Day. (Yeah, still no pictures of that cake.) Fete Day was a glorious time, made more exciting by the events that happened at the close of the day. Daisy lost her first tooth. (Pretend to be surprised!)

She went to take off her glasses and put them in her case and instead a tooth fell into her case. Apparently, sometimes they DO just come out.

The week wrapped up with the Boxtrolls. Weird movie. Only three girls watched it because two were out partying. I listened from the other room while I blogged.

Friday also marked our last morning with Sharon. She was off to her last day of training for China and then headed back to Oregon for a few weeks. In fact, I think she may be on a plane while I write this. We wish you the best of everything in China, Sharon. You will be great and you will have a million fun experiences to share when you come back and visit.

It was not destined for Ivory to get her room back though. The Neilsen's arrived that very evening and filled up the basement. (Sorry Ives.) It is always so fun to see them. We went swimming on Saturday. (Good excuse to use up our coupons before the end of summer.) The girls were ready to play.

So were the moms. And even the men.

I sadly did not pick up the camera enough. We even had extra time with Carter and I didn't think to use the camera. The Neilsen's were headed down to Lake Powell, but they thought two young boys would be more micromanaging than vacation. They asked if we could watch Carter.

Both their sweet boys are high functioning autistic, and it was something that I had never quite experienced. Carter is such a chill, good kid, but I found myself frustrated not knowing what he wanted and wishing I could communicate better.

Camille told me once that she feels half the people judge her because her kids can be out of control and if people don't know the circumstances, they think she is a bad parent. (On the contrary, she works so hard with those boys and therapists come everyday to help them learn new skills.) She feels the other half pity her. (Who would want that difficult job raising autistic boys?) However, I felt nothing but admiration as I took over her job for a couple days. She and Eric have such love and dedication for their children. True, their job is not easy - I know - but they soldier on. They are an example to me. This is one of my only photos of Carter. Great kid.

Before they left, we had a get together with some old friends and I actually made the treat that was planned for earlier in the week. Blackberry Citrus cupcakes. They were okay. Nothing to write home about or blog about I guess.

The Neilsen's left the morning that school started. And so ended the summer. Also, so ends these massive posts covering a week at a time. We can now go back to short, abbreviated stories of our life. Eleven weeks of summer sure flew by.