Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Daddy was gone on a business trip.  All were sad and lonesome at the prospect of three days without him. Dawna wanted to cheer us all up and went to work... she wanted to create...

The Best Family Home Evening EVER!!!

She schemed. She planed. She collected costumes. She designed props. And then the moment arrived... 7pm on Monday night was go time! 

We started like a normal FHE: Singing "When the Family Gets Together," and each kid taking a turn choosing a primary song, Larry led us in an Article of Faith, and then Dawna took the floor with her lesson. 

First, she assigned out the parts: Larry was to play Joseph Smith, Xochitl was to play the Angel Moroni, I got to be Oliver Cowdery, Dawna was the publisher, and Jade was... just Jade.

 Act I, Scene 1: Joseph Smith goes to the Hill Cumorrah to see the plates for the first time.  He unburies them and is shown that something else is hidden with the plates: the Urim and Thummin!

 Act I, Scene 2: After returning several times to see the plates and be instructed by Moroni, Joseph finally gets to take them home and begin translating!

Act II, Scene 1: Oliver Cowdery writes down what Joseph Translated from the Golden Plates (this moment was not pictured, but just imagine the Model Magic Golden Plates stamped with our Egyptian hieroglyphs set; Larry and Xochitl using the "translator" wheel to find the corresponding English letter, and then mom writing that letter down). In the end, we translated "He sent His Son to die for us" from the Golden Plates!
Act II, Scene 2: Dawna took the notes from our "translation" and put them into a book, complete with copyright seal on the inside and staples on the spine!
Act III, Scene 1: Mom, Jade, and Dawna see and touch the Golden Plates and the Angel Moroni and become the Three Witnesses! (Xochitl is displaying the "Urim and Thummin)
Act III, Scene 2: Joseph Smith returns the plates to Moroni and buries them along with the Urim and Thummin once more...

Truly is was the Best Family Home Evening Ever!!! I just got to sit back and enjoy the wonderful lesson and all the kids were happy participants!

Even better than props and costumes, though, was seeing Dawna bear her testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.  In spite of having such an imperfect mom, that girl has grown a strong testimony of the gospel! She is AMAZING in every way!

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

On Broadway!

Friday was our piano recital! This year's recital theme was "Name that Broadway Musical and Tune!" The recital audience all got programs with only the student's names on them. Then, as they listened to the song, they had to try to name that tune and musical before the song was over and the student announced the answer! I always really enjoy watching the audience at these kinds of recitals.  Generally, there's a moment of confusion and intensity as the student plays an introduction, then it's as though a epiphanic light bulb goes on and everyone scribbles down the answer as they recognize the tune! (I may have made up that word...epiphanic... epiphany-like... get it? Well, hey! I can make a noun into an adjective anytime I want! It's English!)

See if you can guess what Larry and Dawna played before they get to the end and announce it in their speech!

 I'll bet it was easy to tell what they were playing right away!

After the recital, as per tradition, we enjoyed ice cream sundaes and each student got to take home a silver or black star balloon with their name and piece on it!
Larry and Dawna both did an excellent job practicing and memorizing and performing! I love so much seeing my kids' musical talents improve!

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Sunday, May 03, 2015

Put the ART back in PARTY!

My little Xochitl is FIVE! Crazy, right? I thought I felt old when my first kid was starting kindergarten... I feel three times older now that my THIRD kid is starting kindergarten! Yikes!

But kids growing up has its perks... for example, now I can do super awesome birthday parties!  This year, Xochitl had so many different ideas about her birthday that I just picked the one I thought would be most fun and ran with it!

The kids arrived and straightaway went to work! Every artist needs a good apron, so each kid chose the color they wanted and drew/stenciled their name and anything else they wanted on it:
 The silver sharpie worked well on all the colors of the aprons. These aprons were a lot of fun for the kids to decorate and wear! 
After finishing the aprons, the kids made a colorful sweet necklace of Froot Loops!

Our pARTy fun begins!!!

Once all were decked out with aprons and necklaces, we were on our our biggest project: Painters tape shape mosaics!

In this art project, you get a canvas and put painters tape of varying widths and sizes all the way across and wrap the tape around the back.   Press all the tape down very firmly! Then choose a color for each section of the canvas and paint every bit! 
 The coolest thing about this project is that any pattern, any tape design, any color selection is unique and cool!
When the paint dries, you remove the painters tape and viola! A beautiful shape mosaic! Sadly, I didn't get pictures of all of the finished products, but here's the ones my kids made:
(Dawna was an amazing helper for this project! She helped the kids paint and mixed new colors for them and got paintbrushes and made sure all the white space was covered!  After the party was over, she finally sat down and made her own!)

While we waited for our mosaics to dry, we headed outside to create some Pop-It art :) Earlier that day, I blew up some eighty-something water balloons with about a teaspoon of paint and water mixed (it was quite an adventure preparing this activity.  I used condiment bottles with the skinny top to fill them...and I accidentally popped a couple in my face... whoops...anyway...). 

 We taped the little balloons with paint onto two big posters...
 ... and sang "Pop Goes the Weasel" while passing around a skewer...
 ...and when it got to "Pop!" whoever was holding the skewer got to pop a balloon! --
 creating two beautiful pieces of modern splatter art! ---not to mention ten adorably splattered kids!

Bespeckled from head to toe with paint!  But look at the awesome art we created!

After all that fun, we had a baby wipe wash down before heading inside for some snacks! I overlooked one small problem: the large mosaics were drying on the table... so we didn't have a place to sit and eat... so out came a big blanket and we enjoyed birthday cupcakes and rainbow goldfish and veggie and fruit rainbows picnic style:
And for one last sweet activity, we created art palette cookies!
...which the kids didn't have time to eat, so they were the take-home treat! I also had model magic clay (but we ran out of time for that activity) and set out other "filler" activities like sidewalk chalk and our white board easel since all the kids finished their projects at different times (which worked great for keeping everyone entertained and happy...).

All in all, it was a great birthday party! One of my favorites! Partly because I love doing little art projects, but rarely take the time to do so unless there's a purpose... I was having at least as much fun as the kids! 

Jade was a good sport and slept through almost the whole party... but woke in time for some snacks and to score her own special box of crayons, which she was very proud of!
WHEW! And that, my friends, is how we put the ART back in pARTy! Hope you feel artistically inspired :) Thanks for turning five, Xochitl love, so I could make this party! 

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